Pitt Day of Giving Participation, Outcomes Show There’s a Place for Everyone

University schools, clubs and organizations—like Pitt’s Society of Women Engineers, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs—use the donations they raise and winnings from challenge matches as part the annual Pitt Day of Giving (PDoG) in ways that are as diverse as the projects and people they positively impact.

The donations supported hundreds of programs and projects:

  • Supplies for elementary school-age girls to do science and physics experiments, computer coding instruction for middle school-age girls and opportunities for high school-age women to attend STEM panel discussions and networking events;
  • More than 40 subsidized Osher memberships that provide older learners access to hundreds of courses annually in a wide range of subjects including literature, history, political science, psychology and art; and
  • student’s internship to Brazil to document the efforts of 11 “catadoras,” or scavengers, as they search Salvadorian landfills for recyclable materials to reuse or redeem at a recycling plant for profit—work that contributes to the country’s ambitious Zero Waste goal.

“Everyone knows about Pitt’s schools and athletic programs, but our donors don’t always know about some of the University’s other programs that serve both local and far-reaching communities,” said Mike O’Brien, an assistant director of annual programs in the Division of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement. O’Brien works with groups like Osher that participate in the annual PDoG.

Like last year, faculty, staff and students on the Pittsburgh campus can stop by the William Pitt Union’s Assembly room between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a celebration rally. Highlights include T-shirt giveaways, games, snacks and appearances by Pitt senior leaders. 

Additionally, the celebration will serve as a collection point for the Pitt Food Pantry. The first 250 attendees bringing a donation to the food pantry will receive a free pair of Pitt socks.

Funds raised by such organizations during the daylong philanthropy blitz create transformational programming that has impact far beyond the University and its community. 

“I think that this was a great opportunity for me and I believe my work had a positive impact on these women’s [the catadoras] lives,” said GSPIA student Paul Donnelly of his experience in Salvador, Brazil, working with the nongovernmental organization PEACE Ambiental. Donnelly’s internship was funded in part by GSPIA’s Professional Development Fund, which received $15,000 in additional challenge funds last year when the school earned the top spot in last year’s PDoG schools and colleges leaderboard.

On Pitt Day of Giving, 16 schools and colleges, three regional campuses, 17 athletic teams and groups, 20 “places, experiences and more” and 21 student organizations have another chance to engage the entire Pitt community as they raise funds to support their work.

“This whole effort is about community and giving,” said Senior Vice Chancellor for Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement Kris Davitt. “When we come together physically and virtually on one day, it’s an amazing thing.”

This year’s goal is to receive gifts from at least 7,000 alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University on Tuesday, Feb. 25. That would exceed last year’s record-setting number by more than 10%.

Within that goal are several smaller goals including gifts from 850 graduates of the last decade and gifts from 1,787 faculty and staff (a nod to the University’s founding in 1787). Each would set a PDoG record.

Read about the more than 20 challenges taking place throughout the day, including the Faculty and Staff Challenge that will unlock a $5,000 gift to the General Scholarship Fund if 1,787 faculty and staff make gifts.

Learn more at PittDayOfGiving.com

“Anytime we can talk about the power of philanthropy and how everyone has a role to play in supporting our students and faculty, it works for the betterment of our mission,” Davitt said. “There is a place for everyone in Pitt Day of Giving.”