Annual event aims to reach record number of givers; pledges will fund scholarships, emerging programs and student success
Over the years, Arizona State University has encouraged its students and alumni to adopt a philosophy of philanthropy in support of higher education.
And the message has been catching on. In fact, it’s what Sun Devil Giving Day is all about.
On Thursday, thousands of Sun Devil alumni, families, faculty, staff and students will celebrate the seventh annual event by supporting the university’s education initiatives and research ventures with a goal of solving some of the most pressing issues facing society today.
“Sun Devil Giving Day is a universitywide celebration of giving at ASU,” said Andrew Carey, executive director of donor outreach for ASU Foundation. “It acknowledges the generosity of our community. It invites people to give to programs they care about. It’s also about understanding what private support does to advance ASU.”
More than 4,300 people made a difference last year when they pledged their support, ranging from $5 gifts to a six-figure amount. All told, they tallied over $600,000. Carey said the goal this year is to reach 10,000 gifts — more than double last year’s total gift count.
Philanthropy helps the university innovate, educate and pay it forward, said Carey. ASU programs include a clean-water initiative in developing countries, the reinvention of athletic facilities, the establishment of new professorships, a staff emergency fund for personnel in crisis, and almost 11,000 private-support scholarships awarded to students in 2019.
Someone who directly benefitted from Sun Devil Giving Day is Miranda Yousif, who as a freshman took a part-time job doing basic lab work in ASU’s Biodesign Institute. She enjoyed it so much she ended up majoring in biological science.
Yousif received a Biodesign Student Travel Grant in February 2018 that was funded through Sun Devil Giving Day. The gift enabled her to travel to a conference in Las Vegas to present to the American Society for Microbiology, where she won an award for best undergraduate presentation. She went on to receive a Fulbright summer grant to study in England.
Now a junior, Yousif is set to graduate next spring and will take the Medical College Admission Test in May.
“All of my experiences at ASU have cemented for me that I want to go to medical school to become a physician,” Yousif said. “Sun Devil Giving Day gave me the opportunity to demonstrate that I am developing my footprint as a scientist."
There are several ways to participate in Sun Devil Giving Day:
• Share a story using the hashtag #SunDevilGiving and encourage family and friends to do the same.
• Make an online gift on March 21 to any area of ASU including a school, unit, program or scholarship account.
To raise awareness with the campus community, the ASU Foundation will set up tables from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Palm Walk and Tyler Mall and in front of Wrigley Hall and Hayden Library on the Tempe campus, between the University Center and the Cronkite School on the Downtown Phoenix campus, near the Memorial Union on the Polytechnic campus and outside Fletcher Library on the West campus. The tables will invite students to vote on one of five causes they care about: first-generation students, clean-water projects, the environment, arts and culture accessibility, and cancer research. These are the types of causes that benefit from giving to ASU programs.
This year the ASU Foundation has partnered with Aramark at all four ASU campuses to help raise resources for the Student Crisis Fund. Faculty, staff and students can make a $1 donation, or more, at point of sale at campus restaurants and stores through Thursday.
Sun Devil Giving Day runs from midnight to 11:59 p.m. March 21, and donations are made on the website or secured through the Sun Devil Giving outreach center (Tell-a-Devil Network). The site will display a real-time dashboard showing the total amount of donors and program fundraising totals for the effort.
Gifts will be deposited with the ASU Foundation and may be considered a charitable contribution.
Top photo: ASU student Shannon Ganzer and Cheryl Shumate, vice president of human resources at ASU Enterprise Partners, promote Sun Devil Giving Day in March 2018. Photo courtesy of the ASU Foundation