University of Texas at Dallas: Comets Giving Days Raises Record $2.2 Million for UTD Causes

University of Texas at Dallas supporters contributed more than $2.2 million to over 80 campus causes during Comets Giving Days on April 6-7. Nearly 2,500 individual donations combined to set a record-breaking total for the University during the sixth annual two-day fundraising event.

Leading the way were two major gifts to the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies. The Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Foundation announced a gift of $1.1 million, and a $100,000 gift from the Gundy family will establish the Richard Gundy and Family Endowment, which will be used to enhance and maintain the center’s collections related to the Holocaust, genocide and human rights.

The return of in-person events for the first time since 2019 aided grassroots fundraising efforts from UT Dallas’ digital ambassadors, who raised over 600 gifts and more than $22,500 this year. Ambassadors who raised at least 20 gifts this year will join President Richard C. Benson for coffee on April 22. Representatives from schools, centers and programs gathered on the Margaret McDermott Trellis Plaza to garner support for their causes, while alumni networked during happy hours in Houston and Plano.

Throughout the event, campus groups competed to earn bonus funds granted through challenges and matching gift opportunities created by donors. Among the groups topping giving leaderboards this year were the Undergraduate Success Scholars (USS) program, the Jindal Young Scholars Program, the Comet Cupboard, Student Ambassadors and the Intercollegiate Athletic Department.

The USS program provides minority students at UT Dallas with a combination of programs and services that guide students’ journeys toward degree completion, said Kimberly Edwards, the program’s director. USS topped giving day leaderboards both for academic departments and programs and groups that raised at least 22 gifts on the first day.

“Comets Giving Days allowed USS participants to share with the broader campus how their gift to USS and other minority student success programs expand UT Dallas’ diversity efforts,” Edwards said. “We are so grateful to all who donated to Comets Giving Days to help the program serve more minority students. Funds collected for USS will support enriching workshops, high-quality student leadership conferences and grants that lessen the financial burden of applying to graduate and professional schools.”

Other significant challenges boosted faculty and staff giving and inspired support for several campus groups. A $50,000 gift from retired dean of libraries Dr. Larry Sall and his wife, Judy, was unlocked after 300 gifts were received from UT Dallas’ faculty and staff. The couple also gave an additional $5,000 to the Eugene McDermott Library when the library reached 15 donors during giving days.

The Bioengineering Industry Advisory Council contributed $50,000 in challenge funds for the Department of Bioengineering, and the Naveen Jindal School of Management Advisory Council matched $20,481 for gifts given to the school.

In addition to raising funds for campus causes, more than 200 nonperishable items were collected on campus and at alumni happy hours for the Comet Cupboard. Facilities Management contributed the most items to the cupboard this year.

All gifts made during Comets Giving Days contributed to UT Dallas’ ongoing New Dimensions campaign, which aims to raise $750 million for transformative opportunities for students, faculty and programs throughout the University.

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