Campus News

'One Day for UK' in April Generated Over $3 Million in Gifts

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The UK Wildcat mascot serves as the "Y" in large letters spelling "Kentucky" near White Hall Classroom Building during "One Day for UK." Mark Cornelison and Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.
Photo of the UK Wildcat mascot with a woman holding a "One Day for UK" T-shirt.
photo of people with the Kentucky letters
Photo of "One Day for UK" swag laying on table

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2021) — For 24 hours on Wednesday, April 21, more than 50 colleges, programs and causes at the University of Kentucky participated in the third university-wide giving day, “One Day for UK.”

Donors contributed 3,639 gifts for a total of $3,251,169 to more than 350 different funds at UK. This year’s digital giving day more than tripled the first year’s total. Student callers from the University of Kentucky Phonathon raised more than $12,000 on “One Day for UK” by calling alumni, parents and friends of the university throughout the day and encouraging them to make a gift to the UK cause they cared most about.

“I continue to be impressed by the Wildcat community every day, and ‘One Day for UK’ proved once again how resilient our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends can be when we come together,” said Andrew Palmer, director of annual giving. “In a year that has presented challenges to all of us, I am thankful for everyone that participated in this special day for UK to make it such a great success.”

Giving challenges and matches throughout the day drove excitement on social media as donors made gifts and posted photos to compete for additional dollars for the areas of their choice. More than 300 UK faculty and staff made a gift online or by giving through payroll deduction to contribute to the total.

UK Dining gave students the opportunity to donate flex dollars for meal swipes at The 90 and Champions Kitchen on April 21 as part of “One Day for UK.” With 153 meals donated by UK students, UK Dining matched the donation providing more than 300 meals to students in need.

Gifts came in from 46 states and the areas receiving the most gifts in three categories (large unit, small unit and programs/centers) topped the “One Day for UK” leaderboards and received additional funds.

The large unit leaderboard winner, the College of Engineering, raised $1,809,063 on “One Day for UK,” which includes a large corporate gift. The college challenged alumni and friends to make a gift to help unlock four different challenges throughout the day and with 712 gifts, every challenge was unlocked, securing additional funds for the college. The College of Engineering also won the Globetrotter Challenge with gifts from the most geographic areas around the world.

The small unit leaderboard winner, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, had more than 200 gifts raising $19,535 winning an additional $1,500 to support educational programs, courses and events for UK students age 50 and older. The programs and centers leaderboard winner, UK Arboretum, raised more than $85,536 to fund UK Arboretum educational programming, conserve Kentucky’s native ecosystems and provide a safe space for the community.

Despite the snow-covered morning and cold temperatures for an April day in Kentucky, more than 200 people from campus stopped by the life-size Kentucky letters between the White Hall Classroom Building and the Ralph G. Anderson Building for a photo opportunity as the “Y” in Kentucky and to pick up “One Day for UK” swag to promote the day.

All donations support Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign, the university’s comprehensive campaign to increase scholarship support, to fund innovative research, to advance health care, to strengthen the alumni network, to enhance UK’s athletic programs and to grow the university’s endowment.

“‘One Day for UK’ is vital to our comprehensive campaign and every gift serves as an affirmation of the impact UK has on our community and our future,” said D. Michael Richey, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement. “Each giving day is another step toward strengthening our mission to bring momentous change to the Commonwealth and showing the world what Kentucky can do.”

UK Philanthropy plans to host “One Day for UK” every April and highlight opportunities that make a difference at UK.

“Every year, the momentum and outcome from ‘One Day for UK’ continues to grow and is easily becoming one of the most exciting days for our team,” Palmer said. “Seeing the generosity from our donors combined with all of the hard work from our campus partners makes it all worth it.”

Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign is a comprehensive campaign focused on increasing opportunities for student success, funding innovative research, improving health care, strengthening our alumni network, and supporting our athletic programs. For more information about Kentucky Can, visit kentuckycan.uky.edu.