William & Mary’s inaugural One Tribe One Day philanthropy challenge was a record-breaking day for giving at the university. More students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends made gifts to William & Mary during Thursday’s event than on any other single day in the university’s history.
More than 1,700 people gave more than $150,000 during the 24-hour event that featured a carnival on campus for underclassmen, a Senior Class Gift Picnic and alumni parties in eight cities across the United States and London — all focused on the importance of private giving to William & Mary. One Tribe One Day shattered the university’s previous record of 523 donors in a single day.
“The enthusiasm and success of One Tribe One Day — particularly among current students and young alumni — certainly bodes well for William & Mary’s future,” said President Taylor Reveley.
Some of the first gifts made on One Tribe One Day came from the other side of the globe. James L. Stone, a Boston University physics professor who is on leave at the U.S. Energy Department in Washington, was on a research trip in Japan when the emails from William & Mary and Reveley popped into his inbox.
The emails informed him about the inaugural daylong giving challenge uniting the university community in Williamsburg and beyond to donate to any area of interest they’d like to support.
Stone, whose daughter, Monica, is a senior majoring in geology and English at William & Mary, checked his watch.
“I realized that it was already April 10 where I was, and that it would be April 10 in Williamsburg in about an hour,” Stone said in an email interview. He went to the university’s newly launched giving website and made a contribution to the Fund for William & Mary, the largest source of unrestricted funds for the university.
“William & Mary has been such a great educational and cultural experience for my daughter over the past four years that I wanted to do my part to sustain this wonderful college for another 321 years or longer,” Stone said.
In Williamsburg, students involved with the Senior Class Gift, Development Ambassadors and Tribe4Tomorrow spent much of the day explaining the importance of private giving, collecting donations and celebrating the impact of philanthropy.
“It’s nice that we can be here as advocates for the school to discuss the concepts of giving and development,” said Rebecca Silverstein ’14, a self-designed global public health and pre-med major. “I think it will definitely catch on more over the years.”
Private giving allowed Silverstein, a Senior Class Gift volunteer, to study abroad in Argentina and conduct research in the Dominican Republic — experiences that she said cemented her decision to pursue a career in public health and medicine.
“We can think of all of these amazing experiences that we’ve had over the years here, and those are directly related to private support,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you want to be able to help provide that for years to come?”
Although William & Mary is a public university, the state provides only about 13 percent of the operating budget. The hallmarks of a William & Mary education — exceptional opportunities for research, study and programs — are driven largely by private support. About 35 percent of undergraduates receive some type of scholarship or financial assistance that offsets the cost of attending William & Mary.
Alumni couple Marc and Nini Forino, who serve as U.S. Foreign Service Officers in Hong Kong, supported scholarships with their donation to One Tribe One Day. Marc J.D. ’91 and Nini M.A.Ed. ’94, Ed.S. ’94 have spent most of their careers overseas, but remain engaged with the College. Last year, they hosted an alumni gathering which drew about two dozen William & Mary grads living and working in Hong Kong. They also briefed visiting Executive MBA students about doing business in that part of the world.
“We think it is particularly important for global alums to continue to support the kinds of programs that will prepare future graduates for international careers,” Marc said by email.
Private gifts touch all areas of the university — from the renovation of the historic Brafferton to William & Mary Honors Fellowships, which allowed 42 undergraduate students to spend last summer conducting the type of sophisticated research that often is associated with graduate studies.
Philanthropy supports everything from athletics to tutoring services.
“The importance of private gifts to William & Mary’s margin of excellence can’t be overstated,” Reveley said.
Mike Walker ’16, vice president of membership for the Development Ambassadors and a public policy major, said he was pleased with the student turnout at the on-campus carnival and with the response to One Tribe One Day. As a student who benefits from financial aid, Walker said he already is aware of the difference philanthropy can have on a student’s life.“I know that, down the road, my contribution will make a difference not only in my life, but in the lives of people who are attending William & Mary 10, 20 or 30 years from now,” he said.