Within a 24-hour fundraising window, alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and the St. Thomas community came together to raise $2,588,427. With over 2,600 donors, Tommie Give Day exceeded its goal of receiving donations from 2,021 donors. Last year, St. Thomas raised $1,780,472, more than doubling the year prior.
This year, Tommie Give Day met all four challenges (Donor Challenge, Class Year Challenge, Young Alumni Challenge and Social Media Challenge) for its donors, who could give under 12 potential gift destinations. Destinations such as St. Thomas Scholarship Fund and School of Engineering – The Charlie Fund were offered, giving donors autonomy to direct their funds where they desired.
“It’s very powerful when you think about the opportunities you have to build something bigger than yourself. Everybody has an equal opportunity to be an equal participant,” School of Law Associate Dean for External Relations and Programs Lisa Montpetit Brabbit said.
This year, Tommie Give Day held a special challenge honoring Charlie Johnson ’21, a mechanical engineering alumnus. Johnson passed away on May 22, 2021. The funds raised this year by the School of Engineering are going toward The Charlie Fund, which was named in his honor. #TheCharlieFund.
“Our focus is supporting study abroad opportunities for those who can't normally afford it. We’re trying to take Charlie’s spirit of loving international travel and then turn it into something wonderful,” School of Engineering Dean Don Weinkauf said.
Study abroad is often encouraged as a part of the St. Thomas experience. As a transformative time for many, Weinkauf explained it is critical that study abroad be an opportunity for all.
“We can focus our energy on Charlie’s death or we can focus our energy on Charlie’s life. We choose life,” said Weinkauf.
This year, St. Thomas incentivized donors by offering a special pair of socks to those who donated $60 or more. In addition, any share, like or retweet unlocked $1 that would be donated under the Social Media Challenge.
The Board of Trustees provided an extra $100,000 toward the university after Tommie Give Day surpassed its goal of receiving a gift from 2,021 donors. Under the Just for School of Law Annual Fund, Robert Vischer generously matched $10 per donor up to $1,000.
“It's really about the power behind a collective philanthropic endeavor. This is our community. It's ours to strengthen and it's ours to care for,” Brabbit said.