March 3 marked the 14th annual “303 Day,” a chance to celebrate all things Colorado—and this year, a chance to celebrate all things CU Denver.
303 Day references the original area code used for Denver and Colorado phone numbers. It has become a favorite local holiday, celebrated with everything from concerts to restaurant deals, to discounted “staycations” at downtown hotels, to (of course) special beer releases.
In 2022, CU Denver added to the 303 Day celebrations by hosting “CU on Giving Day,” our very first campus-wide day of giving. The 24-hour marathon of philanthropy invited the Lynx community to come together as students and alumni, faculty and staff, and families and friends, to support the causes closest to our heart at CU Denver.
Joining Hands Across the Country
With supporters contributing from Alaska to Florida and Hawaii to Massachusetts, our first Giving Day was a truly nationwide display of generosity and Lynx pride. Together, the CU Denver community contributed over $33,647 to a range of programs and initiatives that drive success for students across all school and colleges.
Every gift, to any CU Denver fund, on March 3 was counted toward the Giving Day campaign. There were also 10 funds specially featured as part of the Giving Day crowdfunding initiative:
- Auraria Library Opportunity Fund
- CU Denver Alumni Scholarship Fund
- CU Denver Fund for Excellence
- First-Generation Student Success Fund
- Food Pantry Fund
- Loving Lynx Emergency Fund
- Mental Health & Wellness Support Fund
- Patrick Browne Memorial Fund
- Undocumented Student Support Fund
- University Honors & Leadership Program
While Giving Day was organized by the CU Denver Office of Advancement and the CU Central Advancement Office, it also gave individuals and teams across campus the power to make an impact. The campus organizations that champion and administer the above funds—groups like the Center for Identity & Inclusion and Veteran & Military Student Services—used their voices and stories to spread the word in their communities.
For example, the Undocumented Student Support Fund invited a CU Denver student to show donors the true human impact their gifts make. Psychology major Keinada Andereas shared a heartfelt video describing the barriers undocumented students face and the difference scholarships have made in making her feel welcome at CU Denver, validating her identity as a student and providing the resources to pursue a research role at CU Anschutz.
Donors Share (and Show) What Giving Means to Them
Giving Day not only offered the Lynx community a chance to give back; it also offered them a platform to share why they invest in student success. “Opportunity lives at CU Denver for our amazing students,” said husband and wife Antonio Farias and Elizabeth Garcia, PhD. Farias is CU Denver’s vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, while Garcia is a visiting assistant professor in Ethnic Studies. “Open your hearts and wallets, please!” they added.
Indeed, donors showed us, with their wallets, which causes meant the most to them this Giving Day. The online crowdfunding campaign raised $6,630 for Undocumented Student Support, $2,447 for the Loving Lynx Emergency Fund, $1,760 for the Food Pantry Fund, and $1,360 for First-Generation Student Success. Giving Day’s largest donor, Phil Harding ‘86, made two incredible matching gifts of $10,000 to the Undocumented Student Support and Food Pantry Funds.
Joining Farias and Garcia, many donors to the crowdfunding campaign left comments about why they chose to make a difference on Giving Day:
“As a first-generation graduate from CU Denver, I understand the barriers to success. My mother encouraged me to pursue higher education but was unable to lend any support. Therefore, I am contributing to the first-generation scholarship fund.”
“Thanks for helping me out when I needed [it] most, CU Denver Emergency Fund.”
“It is a privilege to work for CU and an honor to support CU Denver’s first-ever giving day! I am incredibly proud of our students across the campus. #LynxStrong 💛🖤”
“¡Sí Se Puede! – Yes We Can!”
To all of you who made a gift, helped spread the word, and shared your stories on Giving Day, thank you so much for showing up for CU Denver and our students. We are honored to start this new tradition with you, and we can’t wait to “CU on Giving Day” next year!