Record Give Day Total in Unprecedented Time

One thing we now know for sure: Donors from all corners of the UC Davis community, spanning 43 states and nine countries, do not let a public health crisis stop them from making a difference.

Given that this year’s fourth annual Give Day broke records — bringing in $2.5 million, according to preliminary data, compared with just over $2 million last year — the tremendous need may even have inspired donors to give more. The funds were raised during 29 hours, from noon Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday (April 17-18), for programs at UC Davis and UC Davis Health.


Gary S. May portrait, hands clasped

“A Give Day record ... during a pandemic! This is who we are ...”

— Chancellor Gary S. May, on Facebook

Some $142,680 of the total raised went to COVID-19-related emergency funds supporting students with such basic needs as food, housing and access to online learning. At UC Davis Health, emergency funds support health care students and professionals working on the front lines and in labs to save lives and find solutions.

Some $65,000 had already been raised for these emergency funds prior to Give Day. The funds were set up by Give Day organizers in mid-March, as the public health crisis sharpened and campus operations were suspended. Combined with Give Day, total emergency fund donations surpassed $200,000.

“I am so proud of how our community stepped up to help one another — and so grateful to each and every person who chose to donate to UC Davis during times that have been hard for all of us,” Chancellor Gary S. May said. “Your gifts are having an immediate impact, whether they went to our emergency funds or to our many other programs that strengthen UC Davis as a leader in academic excellence, research and public service.”

This year’s Give Day also drew a record number of challenge gifts — 166 compared with 145 last year. Challenge gifts make contributions of any size go further by “unlocking” larger amounts put forth by community donors.

It’s worth noting that although the total gift amount was the highest ever, there was a decrease in the number of gifts, ­3,379 gifts compared with 4,454 last year.

“That’s not at all surprising, given the really difficult challenges so many of us are facing,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations. “Some of our previous donors were not in a position to give, and that’s completely understandable. People who were able to give, gave more. We could not be more grateful for our donors’ generous support.”

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