June 2, 2020

Record-High Financial Support for Fourth Annual Giving Day

More than 1,250 donors pledge upwards of $1.3 million, and volunteers pledge 4,700 hours of their time

No one person defines the University of Calgary; we are #UCalgaryTogether. When our community pulls in tandem — as it just did during this year’s Giving Day campaign — it demonstrates the collective power we have to take care of each other, test theories, debate issues and seek cures in order to make the world a better place. In other words, we can do more together than on our own.

For the last four years, Giving Day at the University of Calgary has been an extraordinary occasion, matching worthy causes on campus with supportive donors in the larger UCalgary community. This year, despite being in highly unpredictable times, we eclipsed all previous years by raising more than $1.3 million from 1,252 donors, and we recorded almost 5,000 hours pledged by 690 volunteers.

“This year, we took a different approach to Giving Day,” explains Michael Sclafani, associate vice-president, alumni engagement and partnerships. “We believed the university had a critical role to play due to the pandemic, so we created two COVID-19 funds — one was in support of student relief, the other was directed at COVID-19 research. To be honest, we weren’t sure what the response would be, but our alumni and the greater community rallied to support us and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Besides the COVID-19 funds, what was also new for Giving Day 2020 was the opportunity to give the gift of time — aimed at volunteers who give back to their community in tangible and enormously generous ways. Whether it was delivering groceries to seniors or building face shields and sewing masks, it all counted in the form of volunteer pledges and tallied up to thousands of hours.

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As in previous years, many donors were compelled by the unique opportunity to have their donation funds matched, up to $2,500, for a limited time. The option to direct gifts to preferred causes — such as in-memoriam scholarships, targeted cancer research projects or meaningful community partnerships — provided Giving Day 2020 supporters with even more ways to give back to UCalgary.

Bolstering this year’s Giving Day, which actually stretched from April 23 to May 22, were dozens of photos on social media (posted under #UCalgaryTogether) of students, alumni, staff and supporters whose pictures and stories reminded us what it means to be a collective unit. 

“This year is unequivocally different — but the spirit and tenacity of our community is not,” says Nuvyn Peters, vice-president (advancement). “Our intention with this Giving Day was to amplify our impact where it was needed most — and our community stood behind us.

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“Strong support of the COVID-19 student relief and assistance fund signals to us that, even amidst uncertainty on a global scale, our community recognizes the transformative impact of their collective generosity.”

Adds Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research): “The spirit of generosity runs deep in our community, and this year’s Giving Day shows that not even a pandemic can stand in its way. We are grateful that so many people came forward to support UCalgary research during this difficult time, and your donations will help our teams tackle global challenges and create positive change.”

Giving Day’s value is an investment in our students and researchers and is an immeasurable milestone in building a culture of philanthropy on campus and in the community. Thank you for your support and for showing how strong we are #UCalgaryTogether.