Hokie Nation comes together for record Giving Day at Virginia Tech
Over $8.4 million raised from 15,787 donors in an annual event that has become one of the university’s philanthropic highlights of the year.
Virginia Tech challenged its community, and, once again, that community responded in record fashion.
The university’s fourth Giving Day resulted in 15,787 alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends coming together to celebrate Virginia Tech and give over $8.4 million in support.
The number of donors and of dollars raised both set records. Giving Day 2021 saw nearly 12,400 donors contribute $6.3 million, combined.
Giving Day 2022, which concluded at midnight Feb. 25, offered opportunities for Hokie Nation to give back to a host of departments, programs, student organizations, and teams of their choosing.
“Giving Day has become an important tradition that allows our far-reaching Virginia Tech community to join in a show of support for the university’s comprehensive global mission,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “We are grateful for the generosity of all the supporters who are helping us advance education, research, and our commonwealth’s future.”
Giving Day donations will go to a wide variety of the university’s colleges and programs, benefiting students and faculty from all disciplines, as well as numerous communities that are served by Virginia Tech’s broad outreach and engagement. Largely an online affair, Giving Day was originally scheduled to run for 24 hours starting at noon Feb. 23. After systems were temporarily overwhelmed during a period of high website traffic the morning of Feb. 24, the event was extended to midnight so that everyone who wanted to participate would get the chance.
“Yet again, the Virginia Tech community has come together for an unprecedented show of support,” said Brittany Staggers, the university’s assistant director for digital philanthropy, who also co-chaired the Giving Day initiative. “The generosity of Hokie Nation in backing current and future Hokies is overwhelming and a wonderful example of the spirit that permeates everyone associated with this university. We’re so grateful to everyone who contributed.”
Virginia Tech received gifts from Hokies in all 50 states and in 29 countries outside the United States.
Much of the credit for this global generosity goes to Virginia Tech’s 1,088 Giving Day ambassadors, who along with donating promoted Giving Day to their networks of friends, family, and colleagues, using social media and other means. Paul ’97 and Jennifer ’99 Reeder of Nokesville, Virginia, were among those ambassadors.
“As we pick our own paths through life, whether developing a career, chasing a passion, or finding other important ways to support our families and communities, distance builds between us and our alma mater,” said Paul Reeder, who also serves as the campaign committee chair for the Student Affairs Alumni Advisory Board. “But Virginia Tech is different, and it’s noteworthy how many alumni remain connected to the university.”
Jennifer Reeder added, “Giving Day provides an opportunity to consciously remember that and give to Virginia Tech so that current and future students have the same benefits and opportunities that we had.”
Ambassadors could participate in the “You+2” challenge set by the university, which encouraged them to make their own gift and get at least two people in their networks to follow their lead. The ambassadors made a major impact on the event’s success by making or bringing in more than 6,600 gifts, totaling over $808,500 combined.
Giving Day challenges augmented the impact of gifts by many in the Virginia Tech community, unlocking more than $800,000 in bonus funding by meeting certain benchmarks.
Some challenges awarded bonuses to units that received the most donations within a certain timeframe. Other challenges rewarded Hokies for taking additional actions such as liking a video posted on a unit’s social media. Still others were tied to passing thresholds for the number of gifts to specific areas within colleges and programs.
Supporters across the country and around the world used social media to share their love of Virginia Tech and their excitement for Giving Day by tagging social media posts with #VTGivingDay.
Students gathered in Squires Student Center, where Giving Day T-shirts were available, and Steven White ’92, who draws illustrations known as "Doodles" for VTx emails, sketched caricatures. Students also competed in a scavenger hunt challenge that had them download an app and complete missions to try to win money to donate to their area of choice at Virginia Tech. Among the five winners who each won $500 to donate was Brittney Rojas ’23, who planned to support her sorority, Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi.
“We hope to continue to expand and reach out to more women of strength and women of character that are interested in joining a lifetime of hermandad,” Rojas said, using the Spanish term for sisterhood. “I’m so excited that I can have these funds donated to my sorority as we work toward fulfilling our mission.”
The numbers of dollars raised and of Hokies participating have increased each Giving Day since the tradition began in 2018. This year, Giving Day yet again showed the power of the Virginia Tech community, which annually accepts challenges and turns them into opportunities.
It’s no surprise that one of the nation’s strongest collegiate communities rallied together to support the current and future students of Virginia Tech on Giving Day,” said Charlie Phlegar, Virginia Tech’s vice president for advancement. “We rely on Hokie Nation for that support, and once again, our generous alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents, and students have delivered. Thank you, everyone, for coming together to enhance Virginia Tech.”