GCU's Day of Giving significantly surpasses its goal

Members of the Thundering Heard Pep Band squeeze into the frame at the Day of Giving photo booth.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

Grand Canyon University's Day of Giving was already off to a good start Thursday when $70,923 was raised by early morning. By 10:30 a.m., that number jumped to roughly $101,000.

It was evident the University was going to reach its goal of surpassing last year’s campaign total. By the end of the day, $585,286 was raised, and the number continues to go up, reaching almost $589,000 by 11 a.m. Friday.

This is the third annual Day of Giving, and so far, each year has been more successful than the last.

Thunder leads the GCU Spirit team of Cheer, Dance and Thundering Heard Pep Band down the Promenade to draw attention to Day of Giving.

“The first year people were just trying to figure out what this is. People participated but were still cautious. Last year, everyone wanted in after seeing how much money was made. Year three everybody knows what it is, they are willing to have meetings earlier, prepare videos and discuss their campaign plans in advance,” said Cherylann Galdi, Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations.

GCU saw growth in more ways than one.

In addition to receiving more donations than the previous year, the University experienced in an influx in the number of participating programs and student ambassadors. Last year, 500 student ambassadors took part in Day of Giving, but this year, 900 students were involved in the campaign with over 60 programs participating.

GCU cheerleaders perform in front of the Student Union during Day of Giving.

As students walked through the Promenade, they had a chance to stop by the “Thunderously Proud” photo booth to take a picture with various props that showed off their GCU spirit. The idea was to post those photos on social media platforms, adding #GCUgives or #dayofgiving and spread awareness of the annual campaign. This is how Lopes had the chance to be ambassadors for their own programs and the University.

“I can’t advocate for a program where I am not directly involved as well as those students that are directly involved can. That is why we train them to be ambassadors, to create a personal and emotional pull,” said Jac Trboyevich, Annual Giving and Alumni Relations specialist.

The Office of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations organizes the online campaign and events for the specific day, but the students really spread the word and bring attention to the areas in need.

Students grab Day of Giving stickers and buttons from the Alumni Office table.

Club Sports is one of the programs that greatly benefits from Day of Giving. The list of expenses, including sports gear, equipment, travel fees, tournaments and game days, are all necessities to keep the program alive.

The online campaign makes that a possibility.

“GCU starting the Day of Giving gave us a centralized focus of when and how to start our campaigns. It created a uniform effort that we can all get behind and make sure we are aligning with GCU’s philanthropic mission. We want to show we are very thankful for the people that want to support us,” said Ben Canfield, Club Sports Development Coordinator and head bowling coach.

At the beginning of the day, Club Sports was off to a solid start with $44,003 in its drobox. By the end of the day, the amount tripled to $137, 947.

“GCU doesn’t only care about what is happening on its own campus, it cares about the community,” Galdi added.

This campaign teaches the student body and faculty the importance of philanthropy and giving to others while advocating for community needs. That is why some of the featured programs this year were GCU CityServe, Fostering Futures, LOPES Academy and more.

“In addition to raising scholarship funds for program participants and participant buddies, our hope for the LOPES Academy involvement in the Day of Giving is to bring awareness to the lack of postsecondary programs available to the neurodiverse population,” said Heidi Boldway, Director of the LOPES Academy.

Students make their way on Day of Giving through an inflatable obstacle course.

By the end of the campaign, the program reached $5,730 in funds.

“By supporting the LOPES Academy, you allow the college to continue the meaningful work of providing a population of young people who have unique challenges to encounter college and thereby discover the essence of who they are,” said Sherman Elliott, Dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The pep band, Cheer and Dance teams thundered through the Promenade, announcing the Day of Giving while simultaneously putting themselves in those ambassador shoes, spotlighting their program needs as potential recipients of donations.

The campaign closed its day of activities with a night of worship led by Canyon Worship Live. Hosted by College of Theology, the concert was yet another way for students to be their own ambassadors. Humbled by the generous funds, the performers, whose songs are featured on the Canyon Worship album, led the Lopes in a time of gratitude and praise for God’s provision.

Day of Giving is one day, but the gift of giving continues. If you would still like to donate, you can do so here. The website will remain live for another week.

GCU's Staff Writer Izabela Fogarasi can be reached at [email protected].

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Bible Verse

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