A campaign to raise $50,000 for the University of Guelph in 50 hours has gone well past that goal, with hundreds of people contributing.
The U of G 50 Challenge raised $197,218.53 from 933 donors as part of Giving Tuesday. The day follows the traditional shopping weekend after the American Thanksgiving and encourages people to support groups and institutions in their community. The U of G 50 Challenge was part of the wider Guelph Gives campaign, which sought to raise $1 million on Dec. 2.
The University had set an initial goal of $50,000 because 2014 is U of G’s 50th-anniversary year. That number was reached in just eight hours.
Donations continued to come in throughout the evening, and nearly $100,000 was raised by late Tuesday. With the 50-hour clock still counting down, donations continued to pour in until the final deadline on Thursday morning.
“We are so pleased that 933 donors supported us during the challenge,” said Eileen Watson, who works in Alumni Affairs and Development (AA&D) and co-ordinated the event.
“Alumni, friends, students, staff, faculty and matching donors all rallied behind this initiative. There were gifts of all sizes, from donors all over the world — from Brazil and Vietnam to British Columbia and Newfoundland. Of course, many of our donors are right here in Guelph.”
A number of key donors agreed in advance to provide matching funds for priority initiatives. Each of those campaigns not only reached goal but in every case overwhelmingly exceeded the targets.
“While the dollar amount for the U of G 50 Challenge is amazing, it’s what those dollars translate into that really counts,” said Watson.
“This means scholarships and bursaries for students, increased lab space, more athletic facilities, increased resources in the library, and more staff power for support services, recruiting high school students and innovative research.”
The campaign for Giving Tuesday was a success not only at U of G; Guelph Gives said unofficial donations exceeded the $1-million goal for the city.
Jason Moreton, assistant vice-president, Alumni Advancement, said the department was thrilled with the outcome of the Giving Challenge.
“It was incredible to see the outpouring of support from alumni, friends, staff, faculty, students and the entire community. It really proves that no matter when you were at U of G, no matter where you live today, you are forever a Gryphon,” he said.
“Our end result goes to show that every gift of any size really makes a difference. The success of the Giving Challenge caps off an incredible 50th anniversary year for U of G, and gives us momentum as we begin the next chapter of our history.”