Several challenge gifts to the Parents Fund will be offered on Give Day. The unrestricted Parents Fund allows the chancellor to respond to emerging urgent needs—for example, providing loaner laptops (here, checkout at Shields Library) to more than 600 students when classes moved online last spring.

Welcoming Parents to Give Day “Challenges”

by Cari DuBois-Wright

Spring is almost here, and Give Day, April 16-17, is fast approaching. For parents new to campus, our 29-hour Give Day is UC Davis’ biggest fundraiser. Last year, in the early days of the pandemic, Give Day brought in a record $2.5 million, up from just over $2 million in 2019. It was a heartening and tremendously helpful show of support in a time of extraordinary need.

On Give Day, gifts of any size are welcome, with thousands of donors choosing to support a wide array of schools, colleges and other units, programs and services across the UC Davis and UC Davis Health campuses. It’s everybody in the pool! And even when held virtually—like last year, this year’s Give Day will be online only—it’s a lot of fun to watch the leaderboards and see how the causes you care about are doing. We will also host a virtual parade and other exciting online activities.

A certain kind of giving fuels Give Day: Challenge gifts, which make contributions of any size go further by “unlocking” larger amounts put forth by community donors. About two-thirds of Give Day gifts come in through challenges. Last year there were 166 challenge gifts to choose from, benefiting a wide range of programs and services across campuses.

From donors I am working with, I can offer a few examples of this year’s challenges:

  • Student Pantry—A challenge gift of $5,000 will be donated if met by 25 gifts of any size.
  • Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education—Unlock a $2,500 challenge with 25 gifts.
  • Parents Fund—A $3,000 challenge gift will be donated if met by 30 gifts of any size.

You see how it works! You can find all challenge gifts by visiting the Give Day site when it goes live——and then clicking the “Challenges” button in the upper right navigation bar. It’s gratifying to know your gifts of $10 or $25 can have an enormous impact.

And if you’d like to establish a challenge gift, either by yourself or with a team of parents or friends, you can submit it by Thursday, March 18. The minimum amount of a challenge gift is $2,500. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or ideas.

The theme of this year’s Give Day is “Greater together.” And nothing illustrates that concept better than the collective power of challenge gifts.

For more information about how parent giving makes a difference in students’ lives, contact Cari DuBois-Wright, Associate Director of Development in Parent Giving, at, 510-388-3605. You can visit our Parents Fund website here as well as learn more about our Family Fellows.

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