Powered by prizes, pets and Terp pride, the University of Maryland community joined together on Giving Day 2021 to raise a record $2,787,447 from nearly 8,900 donors. 

The eighth annual donation marathon on Wednesday saw a 68% increase in total fundraising over last year’s event, held just before the pandemic started, and the number of donors jumped 20%. The funds raised will support scholarships, academic programs and other initiatives across campus that contribute to student success.

“One of the things we’re seeing right now during this pandemic is people stepping up to help those in need,” said Executive Director of Annual Giving Brian Logue. “We were impressed by the outpouring and volume of people who visited the Giving Day site and how excited and thankful they were to be a part of it.”

Athletics topped the leaderboard in terms of dollars raised, ending the day with $392,689 from 706 donors. The department plans to use the funds to support academic services, scholarships, training, nutrition, community service and leadership.

“To have more than 700 donors making an impact by giving back to Maryland Athletics in a 24-hour span is truly remarkable,” Athletic Director Damon Evans said. “We are excited about the future in our department as we continue to lead boldly with various initiatives, provide a student-centered environment for our more than 500 student-athletes and inspire Maryland pride in everything we do.”

The School of Public Health (SPH) raised the next highest amount, with 285 donors giving $220,724; a $100,000 challenge match came from Pamela Clark, professor emerita in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, toward the school’s Global Health Initiative. SPH saw a 137% increase in total funds raised over last year, a 60% hike in the number of faculty/staff donors, and 43% more alum donors.  

“I’m proud and appreciative of the support we’ve seen for Giving Day 2021 from our students, alums, friends, staff and faculty,” said Dean Boris Lushniak. “In the midst of the syndemics of this last year, the School of Public Health will continue to take on the challenges that lie ahead—global health, health equity, public health practice—and continue to support our students and programs.”

Terps across units kept the giving going throughout the day, with matching funds from faculty, families and other donors providing extra motivation. All gifts to the Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise, which led the way in number of donors with 856, were also matched dollar for dollar by the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation and UMD.

Challenges and prizes added a competitive spark to Wednesday’s event, with 42 cash awards doled out to winning units. The College of Arts and Humanities nabbed a pair of $2,500 prizes for tallying the most alumni donors between 9-10 a.m. and then 7-8 p.m., and late-night contributions earned Sports Clubs $2,000 for the most student donors from 9-10:40 p.m. Other prizes were awarded to the units with the most faculty and staff and parent donors during specified windows of time. 

The donation drive continued on social media, where Terps earned extra cash for their units by showing off their UMD pride. The Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band Instrument Fund scored $300 for a red, black, white and gold-filled photo collage, and #policypets helped the School of Public Policy net two of the five available $200 awards during the popular pet picture contest (which graced our timelines with plenty of cat and canine cuteness). Randomly selected #GivingDayUMD and #Igave hashtag users also won prizes.

Giving Day has now raised nearly $11 million since its launch in 2013. Check out more of the spirit on social media that helped fuel this year’s historic event: