Pitt Day of Giving raises nearly $3 million, up 19% from last year

The Pitt Day of Giving 2022 logo.

Image via University of Pittsburgh

The Pitt Day of Giving 2022 logo.

By Kendall Swift, Staff Writer

The sixth annual Pitt Day of Giving — a 24-hour fundraising initiative — took place all day Tuesday. This year’s PDoG raised $2,956,566, up about 19% from the $2,494,002 raised during last year’s event.

The total number of donors this year was 11,046 — about the same as last year’s 11,109 donors. Donors came from all 50 states and six continents, and people could donate for 24 hours starting at 12 a.m. on Tuesday.

Groups and individuals in the Pitt community spent the day encouraging alumni and other supporters to donate to their initiatives via social media. Anyone could donate to organizations and funds in six main competition categories — Areas of Greatest Priority, Schools & Colleges, Places, Experiences & More, Pitt Alumni Association, Pitt Athletics and Student Organizations. 

The Areas of Greatest Priority category included four scholarship-giving programs, such as Panthers Forward and the Pitt Fund. The Schools & Colleges category included undergraduate and graduate schools, such as Pitt Law and the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences. For the second year in a row, this category also included Pitt’s regional campuses. 

The Places, Experiences & More category consisted of groups such as the Center for Creativity, Student Affairs and Pitt Global. The Pitt Alumni Association, as its name suggests, is an association that works to build the relationship between alumni and students. The Pitt Athletics category included athletic groups such as Pitt Football Championship Fund and Band Championship Fund.

Student organizations were the largest category with 59 participating organizations — which is 17 more than last year’s 32 — and included groups such as Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together and the Catholic Newman Club.

The Division of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement hosted the event in a hybrid format this year, compared to last year’s entirely online event. People could donate online or at donation stations around campus. Similar to last year, supporters could also donate the day before for added flexibility. Part of the festivities included a trivia scavenger hunt around campus and a “Create Your Cathy Origami” activity.

Jake Strang, the assistant vice chancellor of annual alumni giving, said Pitt receives donations from several groups — alumni, students and community partners. He said the goal of PDoG is to unite the Pitt community and give back to it.

“Pitt Day of Giving is a day for the entire community to come together and make an impact,” Strang said. “Every dollar amount counts and helps your favorite areas to win challenge match dollars.”

The Catholic Newman Club won the student organizations category with 891 gifts for a total $16,112.04. They received a $5,000 bonus for placing first in their category. The club did not respond to requests for comment from The Pitt News.

Pitt Rowing Club placed second with 698 gifts raising $10,520. For second place, they received a $2,500 bonus. Pitt Men’s Glee Club followed them with 390 gifts raising $8,839, plus a $1,500 bonus for third place. Men’s Rugby won a $1,000 bonus for placing fourth with 342 gifts raising $5,142.22. 

Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together, another student organization, placed [number] in their respective category with 150 gifts raising $2,275. 

PACT regularly scores high in their category and even won first place in 2020. Mario Crown, co-director of PACT and senior psychology major, said the organization is happy with the money they raised from the event. He said all donations will go directly to the Hillman Cancer Center.

“Everyone was definitely looking forward to Pitt Day of Giving as it gives us the opportunity to raise a substantial amount of money for Hillman Cancer Center and show how strong of an organization we really are,” Crown said.

Groups could also win prize money through six challenges. For example, the student organization power hour challenge — worth $1,000 — was given to the participating organization with the most online gifts between 6 and 7 p.m. The challenges accounted for $17,000 worth of funds. A PDoG representative said who won the challenge was not immediately available.

Bea Amsalu, a junior neuroscience major and Blue & Gold Society ambassador, spent part of PDoG working at a scavenger hunt booth in Alumni Hall. Students who participated in the scavenger hunt could scan clues around campus for the chance to win prizes, such as money, T-shirts and gift cards. She said she appreciates the multitude of ways to donate, such as by purchasing a coffee or volunteering.

Besides direct donations, donors could also contribute by visiting coffee shops on campus throughout the day. Proceeds from purchases of select items at Saxby’s and 10 Pitt Eats locations went to Panthers Forward.

“I like the way that [Pitt] has spun this to be more all-encompassing and inclusive because not everyone has money to give, necessarily. Like, some people just have time and that’s also a way of philanthropy,” Amsalu said.

The Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences won the Schools & Colleges category with 1,097 gifts raising about $82,860. They earned a $10,000 bonus for placing first. 

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute won the Places, Experiences & More category with 329 gifts. They earned a $10,000 bonus for placing first.

The Cheer, Dance & Mascot Championship Fund won the Pitt Athletics category. 680 donors raised about $13,300 in total for the fund. The group won $6,000 for placing first.

The Pitt Alumni Association had a total of 318 donors that raised about $35,110.

The Pitt Fund had the most donors in the Areas of Priority category, with 225 gifts totaling about $32,100.

Panthers Forward — another organization in the same category — placed fourth with 226 gifts raising $10,700. Sarah Cullen, the director of Panthers Forward, said the initiative is “designed to support student success and reduce the burden of student debt.” They received gifts from 226 donors this year, which surpassed their goal of 200. Cullen said they are grateful to be part of PDoG and all donations will go directly to offsetting student loan debt.

“The power of the Pitt community is unstoppable,” Cullen said. “Being part of the biggest philanthropic day of the year for Pitt is amazing. […] Panthers Forward is grateful to be part of Pitt Day of Giving and thankful to have the opportunity to connect with such a powerful and transformational group of people coming together to make a big difference.”