September 10, 2020

Some good news: Purdue Day of Giving raises record $42.2 million


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — In a year of change and uncertainty, one thing remains constant: Purdue Day of Giving has once again set a fundraising record.

The 24-hour social media-based event – now in its seventh year – raised $42.2 million, topping last year’s $41.6 million and reaching a cumulative total of $189.1 million. From its $7.5 million total in 2014, Purdue Day of Giving (Sept. 9) has seen a rise in giving in every year since (see YouTube thank you video). 

Taking the theme “Meet the Challenge,” Purdue Day of Giving brought in 20,224 gifts from around the world. The fundraising initiative is usually held in April but was postponed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In a year like no other, the Purdue family has come together in a remarkable – now familiar – way,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Pandemic or no, we never stop in our persistent pursuit of the next giant leap. Our generous donors help ensure that a Purdue education remains the gold standard in higher education and our university continues to serve as an engine of innovation and impact. To everyone who donated: Thank you.” 

From midnight to midnight, alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, retirees and friends across the entire Purdue system – including Purdue Fort Wayne, Purdue Northwest and Purdue Global – joined together in support of their favorite campus, college, school, program or student organization. A Protect Purdue fund was added this year as an option to which donors could contribute. The Protect Purdue Plan is the university’s comprehensive program for keeping the West Lafayette campus and community safe by limiting the spread of COVID-19. Gifts to Protect Purdue were matched one-to-one through a donor-funded challenge. 

Through 30 hourly challenges and six full-day challenges, 70 academic and nonacademic programs competed for cash prizes. New this year was a special “Meet the Challenge” leaderboard, where participating units that beat their gift totals from Purdue Day of Giving 2019 win a portion of $20,000, based on their percentage of the total increase of all units. In addition, 220 student organizations participated in a challenge specifically for them.  

Contributions ranged in size from $10 to an $8 million gift made to the West Lafayette campus’s College of Health and Human Sciences for student support. They targeted an array of initiatives and programs, funding scholarships and student programs, faculty research, academic programs and more. Approximately 92% of all donations were made online. 

Among the gifts made through Purdue Day of Giving: 

  • $1 million to Purdue Athletics’ More Than a Game campaign from football head coach Jeff Brohm, L. Dick Buell men's basketball head coach Matt Painter, women's basketball head coach Sharon Versyp and director of intercollegiate athletics Mike Bobinski. 
  • $1 million from an anonymous donor to establish the David Robert Lewis Engineering Scholarship to increase opportunity for Black students studying engineering at Purdue. The scholarship is named for the College of Engineering’s first Black graduate, who earned a civil engineering degree in 1894.  
  • A significant gift from Scott and Erin Schultz to endow the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Wrigley and Cindy for Life Pet Fund. The fund, named in memory of the donors’ pet boxer Wrigley and in honor of a Vet Med staff member who helped them navigate their dog’s care at the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital, will offer financial assistance to pet owners for whom cost is an obstacle in seeking care for their animals.  
  • $48,000 from the Purdue Engineering Student Council to fund scholarships for engineering students affected by COVID-19.   
  • $30,000 from the Duneland Health Council to Purdue Northwest’s College of Nursing.  
  • $5,000 to Purdue Bands & Orchestras from Sven Rundman Jr., Sven Rundman III and Sven Rundman IV. The family members – who each played snare drum in the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – gave in support of the “name a locker” campaign for the Marc and Sharon Hagle Hall building project.
  • $20 to Purdue Rising Professionals – a companion program to Purdue Old Masters – by Mitchell Demerly, a senior in computer science and economics. Demerly’s gift at midnight during the kickoff of Purdue Day of Giving was the first contribution of the event, earning the organization $500 in bonus funds. “So much of my Boilermaker experience wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our alumni to continue to provide and improve that very experience,” he said. “I give to Purdue to empower students to make a difference in their time here.” 

“Purdue Day of Giving shows just how special – how willing to pay it forward – our Purdue family is, no matter the circumstances,” said Matt Folk, president and CEO of the Purdue for Life Foundation and vice president for university advancement and alumni engagement. “We can always count on the loyalty and generosity of our alumni and friends. Thank you to everyone for making this year such a success.”

To view the Purdue Day of Giving thank-you video and hourly-challenge and full-day-challenge winners, visit 

About Purdue University 

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer, Media contact: Lisa Tally, 765-337-4634,

Sources:  Matt Folk,  

Mitch Daniels, 

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