By: Nolan Edmonson  | 

$5M Goal for YU Day of Giving

In an information session for interested students, YU announced on September 14 that it would be organizing a 24-hour blitz campaign to raise $5 million to be added to the annual fund.

The Yeshiva University Day of Giving, which will be hosted by the crowdfunding platform Charidy, was born out of a desire on the part of the university to expand its donor base. “It's easy to rely upon high networth individuals for donations,” Alan Secter, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Major Gifts, said. “Reaching out to those who may not be high income but still have benefited from YU is our main goal.”

According to the Office of Annual Giving, the school currently has close to 8,000 donors who contribute to either the annual fund or the endowment fund. Fiscal year 2016 saw close to $50 million raised with around $7.65 million going to the annual fund. “A big chunk [of the annual fund] were in gifts of $25,000 and under,” Director of Annual Giving, Andrea Hale said.

Ms. Hale explained that the fund is used, in part, to sponsor different student activities like sports, clubs, service trips, community programming and the like. Mr. Secter believes that if people knew this, they may be more inclined to help fundraise. “The theme for our fundraiser is help people understand that YU touches the lives of so many in the Jewish community. Fundraising allows for YU to continue having an impact for many years to come.”

Ms. Hale estimates that somewhere around 40,000 people will be phoned and over 60,000 people have been reached via email. “The people we’ll contact have been involved in the school in some capacity,” Ms. Hale said. “Donors, alumni, parents, friends of YU. Even those who've subscribed to YU Torah [and the like].”

Charidy is helping the university reach its goal of $5 million using its unique matching system. For every dollar donated, a group of donors will match the donation by four. Mr. Secter said the group is made up of YU board members whose identities will be revealed when the campaign launches. The novelty of this fundraising tactic originally attracted Chairman of the Annual Fund, Elliot Gibber. After noticing other schools and nonprofits engage in this type of fundraising, Mr. Gibber thought that it would behoove YU to follow suit. Planning for the Day of Giving began in the spring and became ready to launch this past week.

The school’s communication department was tasked with creating the fundraising slogan. After some deliberation the slogan and hashtag, “I Am YU” was decided upon. Ms. Hale and Mr. Secter hope the slogan resonates with those connected to YU as it an association with “the values of YU.” That sentiment seems to be shared among students, too. Sy Syms sophomore Noah Marlowe said, “[The] I am YU slogan represents the pride identified with YU as an institution and the values YU stands for.”

As for where the funding should be directed, some students expressed a desire to see the $5 million go towards different activities currently missing from the school. Yeshiva College sophomore Liam Hirschfield would like to see the wrestling team reinstated, while Sy Syms freshman Morris Gammel would like to see some of the annual fund go towards creating more opportunities for students to go on mission trips to Israel and help orphans or victims of terror.

“[The] I am YU slogan represents the pride identified with YU as an institution and the values YU stands for.” - Noah Marlowe

Regardless of where in the annual fund budget the $5 million will go, one thing remains clear: those volunteering have their work cut out for them. Reaching out to 40,000 people is no small feat and the added time restraint of 24 hours makes it all the more challenging. But Mr. Secter remains optimistic. “This is not just a fundraising effort. We are spreading the positive message that is YU—a message that many people can get behind.”

According to the campaign website, the fundraising is set to begin at noon on Tuesday, September 20 and run for 24 hours.