Pitt Sets Single-day Record with Gifts from 6,346 Donors

In an inspiring show of support, 6,346 alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends made gifts to the University on the third annual Pitt Day of Giving, held Thursday, Feb 28, 2019. The largest single-day outpouring of support for Pitt included gifts from 1,485 Pitt faculty and staff. That far outpaced last year’s count of 808, and released a $10,000 challenge grant for the General Scholarship Fund, which supports high-achieving students with financial assistance. In total, Pitt Day of Giving raised $4,218,250.

“This whole effort is about community and giving. When that comes together on one day, it’s simply amazing,” said Kris Davitt, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and president of the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation. “Having all of these individuals engage like this is a great source of strength for the University.”

The day got off to a strong start, with its first challenge met — receiving its 1,787th gift, which is symbolic of the year the University was founded — at 8:30 a.m. By 4:03 p.m., its goal of 4,000 unique donors was achieved. Among those donors was Maura Williams (A&S ’93) who tweeted, “It's #PittDayofGiving and I just donated to the General Scholarship Fund. This much needed tuition assistance ensures racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity by making Pitt more affordable to all students. Giving back because Pitt gave to me! #H2P”

That was just one of the hundreds of social media posts Thursday using the #PittDayOfGiving social media hashtag. It garnered more than three million impressions over the 24-hour fundraising event, making it the number one trending tag in Pittsburgh by 9 a.m., and it remained near the top throughout the day.

Pitt Day of Giving moved beyond the virtual world this year by holding an on-campus celebration in the William Pitt Union. During the event, nearly 2,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends mingled with members of Pitt’s senior administration including Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Senior Vice Chancellor, Provost Ann E. Cudd and Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Hari Sastry. Students were invited to check in at the event to support 31 different organizations as part of an attendance participation challenge.

Additionally, Pitt Pantry students collected 472 pounds of nonperishable food at the celebration.

Challenges worth $200,000 sparked friendly competition among Pitt schools, programs and student groups. Among the winners:

Every school, college and campus saw increases in the number of unique donors over 2018. The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford saw the greatest growth in donors, eclipsing its 2018 total by 464 percent.

“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 that success and there is a place for everyone in Pitt Day of Giving.”

*All numbers are unaudited and could change as data are reviewed. 

  • Pitt Day of Giving was celebrated on Thursday, Feb. 28, coinciding with Founder’s Day and the University’s birthday. This year, more than 6,300 alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends made a gift, raising more than $4.2 million. (Aimee Obidzisnki/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Carrie Koza, systems analyst for Institutional Advancement, distributed T-shirts to students and other attendees in a line so long it lapped itself around the room. (Aimee Obidzisnki/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Hari Sastry, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer, was one of several members of University leadership who attended the celebration held in the William Pitt Union. (Aimee Obidzisnki/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Included among birthday cards to the University were messages of gratitude to Pitt from students, alumni, faculty and staff. (Aimee Obidzisnki/University of Pittsburgh)