Grassroots giving for greater impact

By Bryan Anthony | November 28, 2023

Fundraising campaigns like Crowdfund UC Davis, Give Day, Aggies Helping Aggies and Employee Giving Month emphasize the power of engaging donors and the tremendous impact smaller gifts collectively make.

Crowdfund UC Davis

The Crowdfund UC Davis campaigns in October 2022 and February 2023 brought in a combined $218,061 from 1,811 gifts for 51 different campus projects. One soaring success was Words Take Wing: Honoring Diversity in Children’s Literature, which doubled its goal of $2,500 and exceeded its stretch goal of $5,000, raising a total of $5,100 from 31 donors. “We were blown away by the generosity of our supporters and by the speed in which they helped us reach our initial goal of $2,500,” said project lead Joanne Galli-Banducci, retired lecturer and supervisor of teacher education.

Aggies Helping Aggies

Working together is what Aggies do best. This year, students of the Class of 2023 were challenged to make a gift of $20.23 to commemorate their graduation year by lending a helping hand to fellow Aggies in need. The UC Davis Student Foundation, also known as Aggies Helping Aggies, encouraged support for programs like the Student Emergency Relief Aid (SERA) fund, which offers students quick cash awards for unexpected expenses not covered by other forms of financial assistance. In the 2022-23 academic year, SERA awarded a total of $22,967 to 25 students with an average gift of $919.

Employee Giving Month

During Employee Giving Month in April, nearly 2,000 faculty and staff across UC Davis and UC Davis Health donated more than $235,000. “I encourage employees to do a bit of exploration—find out what is happening at UC Davis and UC Davis Health,” said Patty Covington Fleming, senior executive recruitment partner with Executive Programs and Recruitment, and member of the Employee Giving Committee. “Read Dateline, attend campus events, meet with students, faculty and staff. Find an area of interest and give to that area. It’s meaningful to the donor and so impactful to the recipients.”

Give Day

Give Day is UC Davis’ biggest fundraising event of the year, supporting students, research, programs and services across UC Davis and UC Davis Health. During Picnic Day in April, employees cruised around campus in a pair of cow-themed golf carts dubbed “Fund-Grazers” to whip up visibility and boost support. Nearly $3.6 million in donations from alumni, friends, faculty and staff, students, business and community partners and others poured in from 44 states and 13 countries. “After seven years, Give Day has become an integral part of the Picnic Day experience,” said Shaun B. Keister, vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations. “It provides a wonderful opportunity for donors to show their support for UC Davis across the Davis and Sacramento campuses and beyond.”

Ewe love to see it

UC Davis Sheepmowers is an ongoing research project using a fluffy flock to graze campus green spaces in place of conventional lawnmowers. What started as a study of environmental benefits has branched into mental health benefits as well, as sheep watching is proving to boost mood and lower stress. The project is also one of last year’s most successful Crowdfunding campaigns, raising more than $8,300 for new equipment, community events and an internship program.