By Jess Feldman
On Wednesday, the University of Maryland received over $2 million through over 6,000 gifts donated to various university programs as a result of the second annual Giving Day.
Giving Day is a one-day fundraising event that strives to raise critical funding and engage students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni to advance the university community as a whole, according to its website. University of Maryland implemented this event last year for the first time, where it received almost $400,000.
Throughout the day, staff involved with the event revealed special hourly challenges that pushed people to match other donations.
Over the past few months, specific schools on campus, the Greek Community, and other organizations have been hanging signs and posting on several social media platforms in order to increase funding for the group of their choice.
“Giving Day is an opportunity to engage all members of our School of Public Health community — including alumni, faculty, staff, students and their families — and encourage the importance of giving support to our collective success,” said Kelly E. Blake, the director of communications for the School of Public Health. “Unfortunately, too many students have unmet financial need and this is one way that we can fill in some gaps.”
The School of Public Health raised $27,730 yesterday, surpassing the amount of gifts raised in past years, according to the Giving Day website.
“We are pleased that that we will be able to more than double the number of students we can support through scholarships and fellowships,” Blake said.
According to Blake, the money raised from Giving Day contributes to scholarship support, including emergency funds, and also enables students to work on global health initiatives through SPH’s program, Public Health Without Borders. The program is dedicated to reducing health disparities around the world and increasing global awareness about good health, according to the SPH website.
The group that received the most donations this year was the Terrapin Club, which is part of the development department and raises money for varsity athletes by contacting donors, alumni, and anyone who has Maryland pride. Athletics received $312,046 dollars, which was 38 percent of total donations made yesterday.
“Giving Day is an awesome opportunity to rally our donors around our cause of funding scholarships for Maryland student-athletes,” Whitney Hughes, the Terrapin Club associate director for annual giving, said. “It has given us the opportunity to brand the Terrapin Club as a worthy non-profit organization with an emphasis on our mission of fully funding scholarships for our 500+ student-athletes competing in 20 varsity sports.”
Abigail Bentz, a sophomore journalism major and varsity volleyball player, has a special connection to the Terrapin Club. As a summer intern for them last summer, she was able to see firsthand how donations impact the sports community at UMD.
“The Terrapin Club makes extensive efforts to cover the cost of all athletic scholarships — including tuition, sometimes books, sometimes room and board — so Giving Day is critical to helping student athletes reach their academic potential,” Bentz said. “There are so many student athletes who would not be able to go to college without athletic scholarships. What the Terrapin Club does for athletes at Maryland changes the lives of young, talented students.”
Behind athletics, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Robert H. Smith School of Business and the College of Arts and Humanities received the largest donations.
University President Wallace Loh continued to tweet and retweet several posts regarding Giving Day yesterday, highlighting the importance of donations. One tweet said, “Each year we unite for a coordinated #GivingDayUMD because it’s amazing what happens when Terps give back.”