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GivingTuesday campaign blasts past goal, nets $712K from nearly 1,000 donors

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Western Carolina University’s Division of Advancement set a stretch goal of 600 individual donors for its 2022 GivingTuesday initiative, with a focus on increasing contributions to the Fund for WCU. After all the numbers from the campaign have been tallied, verified and entered into the database, well, it’s mission accomplished…and then some.

A total of 995 donors made financial gifts as part of the university’s GivingTuesday effort, nearly doubling an original goal of 525 donors and topping the stretch goal by 395. That final number includes 188 first-time givers.

The total amount of gifts and pledges raised through GivingTuesday exceeded $712,500; for those counting every penny, it comes out to exactly $712,522.10. The tally includes $366,980.42 in cash contributions and $345,541.68 in pledges.

When the initiative surpassed its initial goal and crossed the 600-donor mark, it unlocked $11,334 in “challenge funding” provided by a large group of supporters who offered to contribute an extra $18.89 for everyone who gave to the GivingTuesday campaign, up to 600 donors. That specific figure of $18.89 was a nod to the year of WCU’s founding.

“The response from friends and alumni of Western Carolina University to our GivingTuesday campaign surpassed our wildest expectations. The impact from these gifts will span across WCU’s campus, and so many Catamounts will benefit from donors’ generosity,” said Rebekah Cheney, director of annual giving.

“This year’s effort was by far the biggest ever, with the largest number of donors since the university began participating in GivingTuesday,” Cheney said. “We are truly thankful for our chancellor, the members of our WCU Foundation Board of Directors and the Division of Advancement leadership team for inspiring others to donate through their generous matching challenge gifts.”

In addition to the Fund for WCU, other big beneficiaries of GivingTuesday are the Catamount Club’s 2022-2022 campaign; a separate effort to raise $1.6 million to renovate the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms and film room; WCU’s General Scholarship Fund; and the women’s soccer and volleyball programs.

The Fund for WCU provides financial support for first-year access scholarships and for campus projects that increase alumni and community engagement with the philanthropic activities of the institution. Previously known as the Loyalty Fund, it has generated approximately $40,000 in scholarship support to 82 students for the 2022-23 academic year, the first year of the 1889 Fund Scholarship Program.

The Fund for WCU also made available $40,000 through the 1889 Impact Grants Program to support several campus partners’ projects. Those ventures ranged from the creation of free exhibitions of historical photographs hosted at sites across Western North Carolina to a new initiative designed to recognize current Brinson Honors College student leaders and build stronger connections with young alumni of the college.

An announcement of the recipients of the second round of grants made possible by the Fund for WCU is forthcoming.

GivingTuesday, which was launched in 2012, is a nationally observed day of philanthropy held on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and after the big shopping days of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This year’s GivingTuesday fell on Nov. 29.

The GivingTuesday gift-counting period ran from Nov. 1 through Dec. 2 and included all gifts or pledges designated to any WCU fund.

For those who missed GivingTuesday but still want to make a gift to WCU before the end of the calendar year, contact the Division of Advancement (828-227-7124 or 800-492-8496) or by email at Online giving also is available by visiting

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