On April 6 and 7, for 1,969 minutes, more than 32 hours, UTSA hosted its first Giving Day. The event was meant to celebrate the university’s philanthropy by raising funds—through the volunteer work of alumni, faculty, students, campus organizations and staff—for various UTSA programs. Thanks to the help of volunteers and almost 1,857 donors, $344,070 was raised: a total that exceeds other UT System and Texas universities with similar giving day events.
The three student organizations that raised the most dollars were awarded additional funds. The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band reached $12,955.50 with a total of 251 donors, Black Student Initiatives raised $3,669 with 84 donors and the Dreamers Resource Center had 55 donors and raised $2,546.
The university had the intention of amassing as many donors as possible and were astounded by the outpouring of support as articulated by Karl Miller-Lugo, UTSA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. “We were blown away at the generosity we witnessed from our community,” Miller-Lugo said. “When all the gifts are counted, we expect to exceed $350,000 raised from more than 1,900 donors. There were more than 2,600 gift transactions online in just those two days.”
Aside from using email, texting, personal outreach and live streaming, social media ambassadors were tasked with raising awareness. Over 160 people volunteered to be influencers and raised $35,000 alone.
The efforts for an annual Giving Day were first established in 2020, but as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, fundraising actions became limited. This year, though, the university was able to hold a fundraising event on a much larger scale. A task force consisting of university development staff, alumni and university relations and students from the Roadrunner Student Alumni Association guided the effort over several months.
“I told the Development and Alumni Relations staff that UTSA Giving Day resulted in more than funds for worthwhile causes across the campuses,” Miller-Lugo said. “To achieve these results took a lot of collaboration by staff all across the university as well as the support of our alumni and volunteer leadership. I think the big lesson is that when we work together, we can achieve bold things to benefit our students and the university.”
According to Miller-Lugo, Giving Day is expected to be an annual event. “Roadrunner spirit is contagious,” Miller-Lugo said. “It is hoped that next year (or in the future), we will be able to incorporate more in-person events on campus to spread the word about UTSA Giving Day and to also truly celebrate, together.”