The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

University seeks donations through Giving ToHoosDay campaign

Alumni Association scales back outreach efforts


The Charlottesville community and the University participated in Giving Tuesday yesterday, joining in on a global day dedicated to giving.

Giving Tuesday was established in 2012 as a response to the consumer-driven shopping days surrounding Thanksgiving: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The philanthropic day is meant to be one of celebrating generosity.

The University has taken up its own version of the national day of philanthropy — Giving ToHoosDay — in which students, alumni and parents are encouraged to donate to University organizations and sponsored charities or groups.

On the University’s Giving ToHoosDay website, users can directly follow a link to make a donation to one or several of designated foundations on Grounds. Need-based scholarships, Faculty Support, Jefferson Grounds Initiative and Diversity and Equity Programs are a few of the options listed on the site. Users can provide special instruction about the donation should they want to.

University Advancement is the central fundraising operation on Grounds, though there are a total of 15 University-related foundations which raise money on behalf of the University.

Robert Sweeney, senior vice president for University Advancement, said communications regarding University donations have been tightened, given the recent protests and fervor surrounding the University's handling of sexual assault cases.

“We toned down our communications plan around the day, a plan that was, by design, fun and chatty and creative — but that approach seemed frivolous in light of all that’s happening in our world right now,” Sweeney said in an email. “But we did not suspend the initiative.”

Some donors who decline to make a gift have referenced the Rolling Stone article, which detailed graphic cases of sexual assault and sparked a wave of reactions across the University community, but Sweeney said many individuals have still had positive responses.

“Some do share their anger, yet quickly ask how they can help be part of the solution,” Sweeney said. Donors can choose to give to the Women’s Center’s Sexual Assault Education Center or other advocacy groups on Grounds.

The Alumni Association and University Advancement are not the only On-Grounds groups involved in Giving ToHoosDay.

Class Giving is an annual campaign run by Fourth Year Trustees which aims to foster a culture of giving to the University by encouraging philanthropy in fourth years. This past week, Class Giving has participated in outreach for Giving ToHoosDay through social media and word of mouth.

Class Giving Trustee Paige McDermott, a fourth-year Batten student, said the outreach of Class Giving is designed to be largely personalized.

“The goal is to talk to as many fourth years as we can and tell them they have a way to donate,” McDermott said. “We try to target specific groups, anywhere we feel like someone would want to give back.”

Though the Class Giving campaign itself is yearlong, Giving ToHoosDay is a chance to increase awareness and have students donate in the name of an organization or charity and have it go toward the Class Giving campaign as well.

“Our goal isn’t a certain dollar amount,” McDermott said. “It’s a certain percentage of the class. Our goal is to get to 100 percent participation.”

Last year, a total of 81 percent the fourth-year class donated. As of right now, 19 percent of the Class of 2015 has donated. McDermott said Trustees are hoping to reach 20 percent before the holiday break.