UConn Gives Delivers Friendly Competition with Big Impact
As the clock ticked down to the final minutes on UConn’s first-ever giving day last April, two projects vied for supremacy in the number of unique gifts raised. The 100% UConn Law Challenge had led the way throughout the day, with the help of team captains from law firms and corporate legal departments with 10 or more UConn School of Law graduates.
But in the final moments, the Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) surpassed the Law School to win an additional $5,000 for its programs.
“We raised 10 percent of our annual budget in 36 hours,” says Abby Beissinger, program coordinator at the NRCA and a visiting assistant extension educator in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at UConn. “We thought we’d raise $1,000, but we raised $10,000. That was the most exciting and unexpected result. It was a shocking success.”
Beissinger said the money raised has had a tremendous impact on the NRCA’s work this year. Now in its seventh year of programming, the NRCA has approximately 50 projects going on throughout the state. The projects are designed by high school students in collaboration with UConn and community partners. They run the gamut from water quality investigations to land management and wildlife and fisheries projects.
The NRCA also offers environmental and service learning for teachers, which extends its outreach to more than 1400 students across Connecticut. All funded by grants and donations. “People told us they like supporting local, small-scale movements like ours,” says Beissinger. “I think they enjoyed seeing a small environmental academy on the leaderboard.”
The School of Law’s second-place finish earned them an additional $3,000 for the Dean’s Fund, which supports a variety of programs to enrich the student experience.
UConn Gives 2019 is almost here! Join us at givingday.uconn.edu on March 27 and 28 for another record-breaking 36 hours of giving.
“Our team captains are dedicated to the success of the Challenge, and it’s a nice way for them to keep a connection to the Law School,” says Ron Fleury, director of development for the School. “Leadership is also very supportive, and this is a small community. That helps us reach a lot of people.”
This year, the School of Law is adding two new fundraising projects for UConn Gives 2019: one will support scholarships for women in conjunction with UConn’s Women & Philanthropy group, and one will support the Law School’s Semester in D.C. and New York City programs.
“I think we will see these projects bring in people who might not have given before,” says Fleury.
Overall, more than one-third of UConn Gives donors last year were making their first gift. The Foundation hopes that trend will continue this year, when the fundraising effort will run from 7 a.m. on March 27 through 7 p.m. on March 28.
Last year’s third-place finisher was the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholarship Fund. In total, the fund raised more than $20,000 in 36 hours, which in turn supported 10 additional students across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities this academic year.
“People were motivated by personal stories,” says Christine Buckley, director of communications for CLAS. People also feel affinity for their home department, so our goal going forward is to cultivate that.”
This year, 10 different departments and centers within CLAS have created UConn Gives projects.
“Last year we were blown away by the support,” Buckley says. “This year we want to continue to highlight the diversity of our students, not only in terms of backgrounds but also in terms of what they are studying. UConn Gives allows us to elevate our commitment to that idea.”
Last year, UConn raised more than $260,000 from 2,252 donors, making the first-ever UConn Gives a smashing success. We hope you’ll join the party this year on March 27 and 28.