UC Davis Makes Crowdfunding History, Surpasses Expectations

Group of people, many in labcoats, pose for photo with dog
Members of the Comparative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences Laboratory team, from left: Monica Motta, Uchenna Nlebedum, Sara Thomasy, Jennifer Butler, Michelle Ferneding, Ana Raposo and Paige Karpinen. (UC Davis photo)

Twenty-eight project teams of students, faculty and staff across UC Davis and UC Davis Health raised $107,025 from 1,093 gifts during February’s Crowdfund UC Davis campaign. A record 14 project teams met or exceeded their goals.

The Restoring Vision in Dogs Blind with SARDS project, led by Veterinary Medicine Professor Sara Thomasy, raised research funds to help test the safety and effectiveness of an optogenetic therapy in dogs blind from Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, or SARDS. Every donation enables them to enroll more dogs in the clinical trial and cover all costs associated with the study. Thomasy’s team raised $11,630 from 102 gifts.

“Participating in the February Crowdfund was a great exercise in science communication,” Thomasy said. “I made a YouTube video to describe the project, which was a first for me! It was exciting to see how the SARDS community engaged with the video and shared it on Facebook.”

Cal Aggie Camp returned for their fifth February Crowdfund cohort and raised $15,892, surpassing their goal of $14,000. They did this with the support of 189 gifts — the most gifts to a single project in an October or February Crowdfund cohort. Each year their donors’ generosity helps ensure two weeks of free summer camp is available to children in foster care.

Other project teams that achieved their goal during the February Crowdfund UC Davis cohort include:

  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium
  • Hunter Jumper Club at UC Davis
  • Promoting Excellence in STEM Teaching Education
  • Summer Health Institute for Nursing Exploration and Success
  • Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Summer Program
  • Blooms for Benefit
  • Supporting Experiential Learning at UC Center Sacramento
  • Cyclone RoboSub
  • UC Davis Latinx Staff and Faculty
  • Empowering Graduate Students to Pursue Community Engaged Research, and
  • Aggie Propulsion & Rocketry Lab

About Crowdfund UC Davis

Crowdfund UC Davis takes place in October and February each year and has raised more than $813,659 since its debut in February 2020. Applications for the October cohort will open June 3.

The Annual and Special Gifts Program in Development and Alumni Relations works with Advancement Services to review applications for Crowdfund UC Davis. They provide teams with access to the Crowdfund UC Davis platform, as well as training, weekly guidance sessions and some email support for the program. The project teams themselves fuel the marketing and networking that lead to their fundraising success.

Media Resources

Sierra Ronning is a communications and external relations specialist in Development and Alumni Relations. She can be reached by email or at 530-752-2661.

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