Day of Giving: Sky’s the limit for giving back

by Zachary Petroff | staff writer

Feb. 17, 2022

On Feb. 9, Duquesne University participated in its 7th Annual “Duquesne Day of Giving.” The university’s programs were able to raise a record-high $667,363 on 1,939 individual gifts, surpassing last year’s record by nearly $115,000. 

A key reason for this year’s success were donors who issued nearly $280,000 in challenges. Generosity was the second key ingredient to the year’s record breaking gifts. 

“This is the year we definitely had the most people involved helping to spread the word to make sure this year was successful,” said David Jakielo, the director of Annual Giving. “The fact that we had so many alumni and friends step up to issue those challenge gifts was really great.” 

Jakielo had high praise for the employees, alumni and student ambassadors. 

“They really stepped up this year to spread the word about the day of giving because that is just as important as raising money, but also having a dedicated group of people who love Duquesne,” he said.  

Duquesne Day of Giving is a day where people have a chance to donate directly to a group or organization. Other donors choose to donate by offering a challenge, which is a goal set by the donor that will often match or give additional funds when the criteria, such as number of donors or amount raised, is achieved. 

“We see that [is] the No. 1 reason why people give on the ‘day of giving’,” Jakielo said. Challenges allow all participants the opportunity to see their donation have an increased impact if these objectives are met. 

This year was record-setting for the amount of challenges that were secured.

The Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion was the beneficiary of a $4,000 dollar-for-dollar match. The newly formatted office participated in its first “Day of Giving” since its name change last year. Following the death of George Floyd, the former Office of Diversity and Inclusion expanded upward in order to better encapsulate what the administration and student body stand for and strive to become. 

An anonymous alumni donor offered the generous $4,000 match as the inspiration of the new initiative. 

“I think this ‘Day of Giving’ was special for us because it allowed us to officially start that next chapter,” said Anthony Kane Jr.,  director of the Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion. “Even though we’ve been doing the work and we’ve been given tremendous support by the university and administration, having alumni contribute to some of the work we’re doing validates that we are moving diversity, equality and inclusion forward at Duquesne.”

The proceeds will help benefit program events, provide financial support in the form of scholarships for students and contribute to the growing book loan program that allows students to borrow or rent books for a semester. 

The women’s swim team was able to dive right into the Day of Giving by raising over $40,000, leading all athletics in amount raised. The swim team had a donor who contributed a $10,000 matching gift. 

Head coach David Sheets credits the generous dollar-for-dollar match for sparking momentum in this year’s Day of Giving by invoking donors and alumni to showcase their competitive spirit.

The 21-year tenured coach was able to utilize the swim team’s work ethic, which has led them to national success in recent years, in establishing a solid social-media presence in order to garner support on Feb. 9.

“I was constantly on Instagram, constantly on Facebook and sending emails out leading up to and on the Day of Giving,” Sheets said. 

The funds are going to modalities of training that could include a heart rate monitoring system that will allow the student athletes to enhance their training regimen. Recruiting and other needs for the athletes’ success will also be available thanks to the donor’s generosity. 

The Bhaskar Student Excellence Fund raised over $40,000 largely due to the generosity of two anonymous School of Business alumni to match all donations up to $40,000. 

The fund is named in honor of Professor Vashishta Bhaskar, who recently retired from the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business after serving more than 30 years as a finance faculty member.

“Professor Bhaskar’s work with the Duquesne Asset Management Group student organization, which he founded during the 1990s, led to the school’s current Student Managed Investment Funds program. As a result of his efforts, students today can participate in a multi-year experience managing funds totalling more than $1 million.” said Philip Baird, the chair of economics and finance in an email. 

The Bhaskar Student Excellence fund is utilized to enhance the learning experience for all business students.