#BearDownGiveBack: Giving Day returns Feb. 14

#BearDownGiveBack: Giving Day returns Feb. 14

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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Your donation during the 24-hour fundraiser can support scholarships, student services, colleges, athletics and more.
Your donation during the 24-hour fundraiser can support scholarships, student services, colleges, athletics and more.
John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO, University of Arizona Foundation
John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO, University of Arizona Foundation
Krista Voth, senior director of annual giving, University of Arizona Foundation
Krista Voth, senior director of annual giving, University of Arizona Foundation

A small gift can have a big impact, and the University is hoping the campus community will come together in that spirit to fuel a successful Giving Day on Feb. 14.

Giving Day is an annual 24-hour fundraising initiative during which donors can make gifts to any University of Arizona Foundation fund. Gifts can support scholarship programs like the Arizona Assurance Program and the Arizona Undergraduate College Fund; centers and programs like the Steele Children's Research Center or the University of Arizona Campus Pantry; or any college priority.

"My wife and I have supported Arizona Assurance for many years," said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation. "I always encourage people to give back to the priority that means something to them. So many Wildcats do, and I’m grateful for everyone who has been with the University through thick and thin."

This year marks the fourth Giving Day and the first to be connected to the $3 billion Fuel Wonder fundraising campaign, which launched its public phase in November.

"Giving Day will be a great way to share the campaign with a larger audience and ask everyone for their participation," said Krista Voth, senior director of annual giving for the University of Arizona Foundation. "For those outside of Tucson, it may be the first time they're hearing about the campaign."

The first Giving Day happened in November 2020 as part of a virtual Homecoming celebration. The effort focused on specific scholarships and student success programs and raised about $1 million. Giving Day moved to Valentine's Day in 2022 and brought in more than $3 million from approximately 2,700 donors. Last year, the effort brought in $5.2 million from about 2,000 donors.

While those totals include major gifts and estate donations, it's the smaller gifts that really drive the campaign, Voth said.

"You have to think about the impact it has when combined with everyone else's gifts," she explained. "If 25 people each give $25, that really is significant when it comes to scholarships and student resources. It's not just your $25, it's the $25 everyone else is giving as well. It really adds up and makes an impact."

How to give

Donors can donate online through the Giving Day website. Several colleges and units will have a Giving Day page to highlight their priorities. Visitors to the site can also look for matching gift challenges, which allows their dollars to be multiplied for even greater benefit.

Donations can also be made via check: Make checks payable to the University of Arizona Foundation and, in the memo line, write "Giving Day" and the area that should receive the gift. Checks can be sent to The University of Arizona Foundation, P.O. Box 210109, Tucson, AZ 85721-0109. Those who want to donate by phone can call 520-621-5491 or 800-409-9791 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tucson time.

Voth said she hopes to increase the number of first-time donors. There were about 190 first-time donors last year.

"We'd also like to increase student participation, not so much with gifts, but participating in activities and outreach to show the kind of impact philanthropy has on students," Voth said. "We also hope that students who participate now will see the value of giving after they graduate."

There will be a student outreach event on Feb. 14 on the University of Arizona Mall with games, a photo booth, inflatables, a dunk tank and more. Student organizations will also be on hand to share how philanthropy is helping them. The event begins at noon and is free and open to the campus community.

Other ways to help

Employees can help spread the word by signing up to become Giving Day ambassadors. After registering, ambassadors will get a unique URL to share messages about Giving Day with their network and track how many gifts they've helped bring in.

"We know from our own experience, and data we have from other universities holding similar campaigns, that people are much more likely to give when they hear about an opportunity from someone they know," Voth said. "The networking is key."

The foundation has also created a Giving Day hub with promotional resources including graphics, email signatures and Zoom backgrounds for employees to use. A NetID is required to access the toolkit. The foundation is asking people who post on social media about Giving Day to use #BearDownGiveBack.

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