UM Day of Giving Sets Milestone with Fifth Year of Record Contributions

A student visits The Big Give table in UM’s University Center to help select the Students’ Choice Award. (UM photo by Tommy Martino)

MISSOULA – In a testament to the unwavering spirit of generosity at the University of Montana, UM’s annual day of giving managed by the UM Foundation again exceeded expectations.

As the event concluded on March 7, over 840 donors had provided gifts totaling nearly $650,000, setting a record for the fifth straight year. And donor gifts coming in from across the country are still being tallied.

Alumni, donors, parents and friends from 45 states participated in the 24-hour online giving event, held March 6-7, to support UM students and initiatives. This year’s event surpassed all previous UM giving days, including last year’s record-breaking total of more than $510,000.

Top areas of support included the College of the Arts and Media, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, the Flathead Lake Biological Station and Grizzly Athletics. Donors designated their gifts to support more than 50 programs and initiatives across the University, including the Franke Global Leadership Initiative, Student Success Scholarships, intercollegiate athletic programs like Lady Griz Basketball, community resources like the Montana Repertory Theatre and many more. Donors gave to support every UM school and college.

UM students visiting the University Center, Davidson Honors College and Mansfield  Library during The Big Give experienced the power of philanthropy in action. Nearly 300 students voted and selected the UM Food Pantry to win the UM Students’ Choice Award. The Food Pantry will receive a bonus gift of $1,000.

This year’s theme, “Big Sky, Bright Futures,” encouraged University supporters to unite and create life-changing opportunities for UM students. Members of the UM giving community rallied to celebrate and spread the word about The Big Give. Their collective effort encouraged gifts of every size from alumni and friends.

“The remarkable achievement of another Big Give record reflects the unparalleled commitment and generosity that defines the spirit of the University of Montana’s giving community,” said Cindy Williams, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “I extend my deepest thanks to all Big Give participants for making an enduring impact on UM students.”

Big Give donors participated in 20 matching and challenge gift opportunities during the event. Matching gift opportunities were created by donors who committed to match gifts to a specific area of the University up to a specified amount.

Challenge gift opportunities were “unlocked” after a specified number of donations were received for the College of the Arts and Media, Davidson Honors College, Phyllis J. Washington College of Education, Blewett School of Law, History Department, the Communication Studies Department and School of Journalism. And gift challenge opportunities were unlocked after donors contributed a specified amount for the Division of Biological Sciences, Political Science Department, Davidson Honors College, Global Engagement Office, History Department, Flathead Lake Biological Station, School of Journalism, College of Business, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center and the UM Alumni Association.

More than 130 supporters from all over the country and UM campus signed up to be Big Give Ambassadors and help spread awareness for specific giving areas, challenges and matching gift opportunities on their social media channels with the hashtag #UMBigGive. Participants watched the day of giving unfold on the Big Give event website, where giving totals and social media feeds highlighted progress throughout the day.

To view the overall or individual priority results, visit Donors who missed giving during the event but would still like to make a difference for students can do so by giving at

The Big Give is managed by the University of Montana Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that has inspired philanthropic support to enhance excellence and opportunity at UM since 1950.


Contact: Elizabeth Willy, director of communications, UM Foundation, 970-222-1787,