New Give Day Record: $4.1 Million

Tram driver as seen in rearview mirror, during parade
Vitaliy Tatar waves to the crowd while driving the Give Day and Cal Aggie Alumni Association tram in the Picnic Day Parade April 23. (Sam Sellers/UC Davis)

The UC Davis community welcomed Give Day back on campus with a roar Picnic Day weekend, contributing more than $4.1 million in 5,000-plus donations — crushing last year’s record of $3.4 million.

Give Day began in 2017 and was held the first three years in conjunction with Picnic Day. Then came the pandemic, and Picnic Day and Give Day went into online-only mode for two years. In-person Picnic Day returned last Saturday (April 23) with plenty of excitement, and Give Day was part of it, in the parade and at information tables. The giving, by and large, took place online, from alumni, friends, faculty and staff, students, business and community partners and others, from 44 states and 14 countries.

Give Day crew, posed, in light-blue "Give Day" T-shirts
The Give Day crew prepares to climb aboard their tram for the Picnic Day Parade. (Sam Sellers/UC Davis)

“We are amazed and deeply gratified by the rousing support for UC Davis across the Davis and Sacramento campuses and beyond,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations, the division responsible for Give Day. “This is our greater community expressing their commitment to UC Davis — and their belief that, under Chancellor Gary S. May’s leadership, we are heading in the right direction.”

As in years past, challenge gifts fueled much of the enthusiasm. Each challenge asks for a specified number of contributions of any size to a particular program — and, when the threshold is met, the donor or donors behind the challenge “unlock” a larger gift.  

Give Day 2022 kicked off with more than 240 challenge gifts worth $2.9 million, breaking records set in 2020 and 2021.

“Challenge gifts are really motivating to all donors on Give Day,” Keister said. “They spark a chain of giving, with every donor seeing the tremendous impact we have when we all come together.”

Beneficiaries ranged from scholarships, research and emergency funds to innovative experiential learning projects and more, touching every school and college and most units across UC Davis and UC Davis Health.

Challenges accepted!

Successful challenges this year included raising more than $37,000 in celebration of the Center for Neuroscience’s 30th anniversary and more than $76,000 for the One Climate Institute. In an effort to encourage student participation on Give Day, the College of Engineering Dean’s Executive Committee donated $37,500 to three challenges — the LEADR/AvenueE Challenge, the HackDavis Challenge and the Student Startup Center Challenge, all benefiting students — that attracted 90 gifts totaling nearly $5,000.

Continuing a recent trend, this year’s Give Day saw a big increase in dollars but a slight decrease in the number of gifts — 5,102 compared with 5,664 in 2021. “With the pandemic, wildfires and related hardships still presenting a challenge to so many of us, it’s no surprise that there were slightly fewer gifts — but those who are able to give, gave more,” Keister said.

Joan Fischer is a senior writer for the Annual and Special Gifts Program in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, and can be reached by email or phone, 530-754-0482.

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