WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – Alumni and supporters of University of the Cumberlands donated a total of $187,072.50 this week on Cumberlands’ second annual Give Day.
The funds will go toward scholarships, workship opportunities, athletics, student organizations, and outreach/ministry initiatives.
“The generosity of donors was tremendous this year,” said Bill Stohlmann, director of the Office of Development at Cumberlands. “We set an ambitious goal, and we’re pleased to say our donors met it. It’s relieving and exciting, thinking about all the ways we can pour these funds into our students’ scholarships and activities. This opens doors for a lot of students.”
Cumberlands Give Day is an annual 24-hour online fundraiser held in the spring in which alumni and friends of the university are encouraged to show financial support for the school and its mission to provide quality, affordable education to students from all backgrounds.
The university’s inaugural Give Day was hosted on April 4, 2019, and the school was set to host their second Give Day in spring 2020, but, with the financial strain and overall challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was canceled.
Cumberlands’ Department of Athletics observed Giving Tuesday, a globally-recognized generosity movement, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, raising more than $52,000 for students in athletics programs.
The 2019 Give Day raised $76,000 for students. This year’s goal was $100,000, which was met in the late hours of the day. More than 500 gifts were made to the university.
Challenges were presented to alumni to boost incentive to give. For instance, the Aebersold Music Challenge, in which 50 gifts made to the Department of Music unlocked a special $10,000 challenge gift from Jamey Aebersold, long-time friend of Cumberlands music; the Cumberlands Character Challenge, in which a friend of the university pledged $2,500 to the Cumberlands Character Initiative once the Initiative received 25 gifts; the ROTC Challenge, which brought in a total of $1,360 for the Brook Jones Scholarship; the Business Challenge, which brought in a total of $11,720 for the Hutton School of Business; and the Hope Challenge, a huge $50,000 gift – specifically for student scholarships – that was provided after the University’s $100,000 goal was met.
The university raised $105,305.50 directly, which earned the school an additional $81,767 from challenge grants, combining for the $187,072.50 total.
Some donors gave in support of specific campus initiatives or academic departments. Many gifts were made in memory of or in honor of friends, professors, and Cumberlands staff who impacted the donors’ lives.
Cumberlands alumni across generations took to social media to share how their time at the university impacted them.
Deborah Harp, Class of 1979, said, “I knew when I first stepped on campus I had found more than a place to be educated. I had found a home!” Harp mentioned how her 40 years serving the school in various ministry and career services positions changed her life.
Michael Cabell, Class of 2001, said, “Going to University of the Cumberlands was one of the most transformative decisions of my entire life. The compassionate and Christian culture helped me flourish spiritually, and the friendships are ones that are a part of my life still to this day.”
The university is thankful for three local businesses who contributed to Cumberlands Give Day: PT Pros with a $5,000 gift, Community Trust Bank with a $9,000 gift, and Appalachian Wireless with a $10,000 gift.