The worldwide William & Mary community came together in a big way on Tuesday, March 28, when 12,658 donors made gifts on the fourth annual One Tribe One Day, totaling more than $2.4 million in support of the university. These numbers surpassed last year’s record of 10,358 donors who contributed nearly $2.2 million. Every U.S. state and 30 countries had at least one donor supporting the Alma Mater of the Nation.
“It was spectacular for so many in our Tribe community to rally together on a single day to support William & Mary,” said President Taylor Reveley. “This year’s One Tribe One Day was truly an inspiring feat.”
Gifts like those given during One Tribe One Day support a range of programs and initiatives across the university — from scholarships to student-faculty research to Tribe Athletics and facilities.
“Funds raised on this monumental day of giving will advance so many priorities on and off campus and will increase the university’s margin of excellence,” said Matthew T. Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement. “The dedication of our alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends — combined with the hard work of all our volunteers — made for a blockbuster One Tribe One Day.”
Contributing to the success of One Tribe One Day were the donor challenges, which multiplied the impact of other gifts and helped build momentum throughout the day. The initial 11,000-donor goal was surpassed by 10:30 p.m. EDT, after which the last of eight challenges unlocked to stretch the giving day toward 12,000 donors. That stretch goal was met — and exceeded — by 11:30 p.m. EDT, while the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel in California was lit in William & Mary green and gold in honor of this momentous day.
“It’s impossible to overstate the enthusiasm we saw on One Tribe One Day,” said Dan Frezza, associate vice president for lifetime philanthropic engagement and annual giving. “Our loyal donors continue to be the very best seen anywhere.”
As William & Mary reached each donor challenge milestone, videos starring President Taylor Reveley were unlocked to motivate and entertain the broader Tribe community. The 27th president starred in trailers for horror, sci-fi, animation and Western films, among others — building buzz on social media and beyond.
More than 500 individuals engaged with William & Mary about One Tribe One Day on social media. They shared more than 1,000 posts which were seen by nearly 500,000 people. The One Tribe One Day video series also received more than 56,000 views throughout the course of the day. In the end, social media accounted for a very large percentage of the total gifts received.
Fifty undergraduate and graduate students worked the phone-athon late into the evening, calling thousands in the Tribe community and asking them to support the areas they care most deeply for at William & Mary. Additionally, over 800 class ambassadors paired with more than 8,000 classmates to drive engagement and giving on a very personal level — calling, emailing and using social media to connect with their peers.
Alumni, parents and friends gathered together at locations in 27 cities around the globe, from Boston and San Francisco to Tokyo and Hong Kong. On campus, an outdoor carnival featuring a mechanical shark and other fun activities, took place in the Sunken Garden. Nearly 1,000 students, faculty, staff and others in the community attended the campus event.
Khaile Forbes ’17 participated in the carnival and said, “Though One Tribe One Day is a newer tradition, it’s just as important as Convocation or Yule Log. It’s another day where current students and alumni can come together and give back to whatever transformed their four years here.”
Another student, Katie Seifert ’17, emphasized the importance of giving back, “Being on campus the last four years, I have had excellent opportunities to advance myself personally and professionally, which is why I donated to a bunch of places. I gave to the Scholarships Impact Fund because I am here on a scholarship and I wouldn’t be graduating with such a great degree if it wasn’t for scholarships.”
Forbes and Seifert joined a total of 895 students who gave on One Tribe One Day this year.
Competition was once again fierce between William & Mary’s schools and units through the Gerdelman School & Unit Competition, sponsored by For the Bold campaign chair Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76 and John Gerdelman ’75. Schools and units competed for $50,000 in cash prizes. Athletics received the most donors, Arts & Sciences brought in the most new donors, Athletics won for most improved over 2016, and William & Mary Law School received honorable mention for their overall unique strategy and creativity.
“If anything, One Tribe One Day reinforces the fact that gifts of all sizes — given on an annual basis — really have an extraordinary impact on the William & Mary community,” added Lambert. “We are all inspired by the spread of Tribe Pride all over the world and very thankful for the outpouring of support on this day and throughout the year."