Giving Day 2020 Committee members Samantha Alley (front) and Kyle Grubbs place oak leaves with donors’ names on the Giving Day wall. Photo Provided.
Giving Day 2020 Committee members Samantha Alley (front) and Kyle Grubbs place oak leaves with donors’ names on the Giving Day wall. Photo Provided.
NORTH MANCHESTER – Giving Day 2019 at Manchester University included a campus-wide picnic, a flash mob, two giant gift box reveals for students and a surprise marriage proposal.

The total at the end of that Giving Day was a record $93,000, but with additional gifts that came in afterward, it added up to $116,000.

The goal this year for June 3 was $100,000 and 350 donor gifts. As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the total was $235,500 from 425 donors, more than doubling the 2020 goal amount and the 2019 total, according to a news release from Manchester University.

Giving Day 2020 had been scheduled in April, but the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic pushed the event back to June 3, after the academic year ended.

“As I reflect on Giving Day, the word I keep going back to is grateful! The alumni office worked very diligently over the last nine months to put this day together,” said Kylee Moss, director of alumni relations and a 2011 MU graduate. “We worked countless hours on projects that were cancelled when the first Giving Day was postponed and after it became clear that in-person events were simply not possible.”

She said, “We kept moving forward because this day was about our students and bringing our Manchester community together. We were able to come up with a new plan with the new virtual date of June 3. We switched directions a bit and really wanted the day to focus on engagement and bringing people together. Our Spartans did come together and really blew every goal and expectation we had out of the water!”

There was a virtual coffee hour with the president; a couple of cooking and baking presentations; live music performed by graduates, faculty and staff; a Snapchat scavenger hunt and MU trivia on Zoom. Beforehand, there were emails and social media posts – not focused on the money but on what the gifts mean in terms of scholarships in trying times for students and their families.

“My heart is full today with gratitude for our alumni and members of the Spartan community who stepped up so very boldly in this historic time for our school and nation,” said Melanie Harmon, vice president for advancement.

A North Carolina mother of a student in the class of 2021, for example, did a Facebook fundraiser on her own birthday and raised $410 that is earmarked for Manchester University.

Giving continues at www.manchester.edu/giving. The site will close near the end of June.

Moss was joined on the Giving Day Committee by MU staff members Mike Leckrone, Taylor Strong, Kyle Grubbs, Samantha Alley, Joel Waggy, Dan Chudzynski, Nadine Baker, June Haecker, Megan Sarber, JoHanna Young, Katherine Haff, Janeen Kooi and Jim Manis. Students Alex Downard and Haley Farris were also on the committee.