By: Rikki Kolodny  | 

36 Hours of Giving Campaign Raises Over $2 Million With 613 Donors, Surpassing Financial Goal With Fewer Expected Donations

Yeshiva University’s 36 Hours of Giving fundraising campaign — which began on April 21 at 8 a.m. and ended on April 22 at 8 p.m — raised $2,119,870 from 613 donors. The university’s goal was to raise $1 million, which would be matched to reach $2 million by an anonymous donor, and 800 donations.

Donors had the option of directing their contributions to a number of different causes across the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs, including Student Scholarships, Student Experiences, Improved Facilities and Technologies, Cardozo School of Law, Covid-Related Health and Safety Costs and Faculty Development and Research. 

416 donations totaling $1,246,940 were directed to Student Scholarships, 61 donations totaling $514,228.54 were directed to Student Experiences, and 22 donations totaling $206,292 were directed to Improved Facilities and Technologies. Cardozo School of Law received $142,700.18 from 89 donors, Covid-Related Health and Safety Costs received $4,650 from 25 donors and Faculty Development and Research received $3,318 from 11 donors.  

Included in a subcategory under Student Experiences was the Senior Class Gift, for which members of the Class of 2021 were encouraged to donate $20.21 or make a five-year commitment totaling $360. As a thank you to each senior who made a minimum donation of $20.21, the campaign offered a special thank you gift designed specifically for alumni. This campaign received a total of $1,519 from 11 donors, some of whom were not graduating seniors.

As per Adam Gerdts, vice president for Institutional Advancement, the goal of the fundraiser was “to raise critical funding and engage our alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff and students to strengthen YU for today and position us for future success.” The campaign’s main focus was to reach as many donors as possible. The percentage of alumni who give back to their school is a “critical factor” in the university’s college ranking, Gerdts explained. 

“Any donation regardless of the amount from a member of our alumni community is helpful to the institution,” Gerdts added. “It’s an indication of the community’s trust and belief in the value of their own education; helping to bring that same level of educational opportunity to the next generation.”

The 36 Hours of Giving fundraiser was centered around the theme “Deeply rooted, forward focused” and included a program with a number of featured speakers. The speakers included Director of Semikha at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, who spoke about Tzedakah, and Danielle Wozniak, Dean Wurzweiler School of Social Work, who spoke about the future and power of online learning in higher education. Additionally, President Ari Berman moderated a discussion on antisemitism between Israel's former UN Ambassador Danny Danon and Hungary’s Permanent UN Ambassador Katalin Annamaria Bogyay.

Gerdts did not respond to The Commentator’s inquiries as to how, if at all, the 36 Hours of Giving campaign differs from YU’s traditional Giving Day. 

The YU Giving Day initiative started in 2016 as a “24-hour blitz” to expand the university’s donor base; the 2016 initiative raised over $6 million. The second annual YU Giving Day, which took place on April 25 - April 26, 2018, raised $4,538,697 from 3,004 donors, exceeding the original $3 million goal from 3,000 donors. The main fundraising event was a telethon, which was run by student volunteers and university employees. In 2019, the annual YU Giving Day took place on Sept. 18-19. More than $5.7 million was raised from 1156 donors, exceeding the fundraiser's $5 million goal. YU focused this campaign solely on raising funds for student scholarships. 

“Despite the challenges of the past year, Yeshiva University’s fundraising success has been strong,” Gerdts said. “Total Cash and Commitments to the University are ahead by 26% from last fiscal year, while Cash Contributions are up 19% from last year.” 

“We are incredibly grateful to our alumni, parents, students and friends who participated in the 36 Hours of Giving campaign,” Berman told The Commentator. “Every gift serves as an affirmation of the impact Yeshiva University has on our community and strengthens our mission of educating our students, the leaders of tomorrow.”


Photo Caption: The message of the 36 Hours of Giving campaign was “deeply rooted, forward focused.” 

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University