Over the course of 24 hours, Virginia Tech supporters across the country and around the world came together for a resounding demonstration of the dedication and generosity of the Hokie Nation.

On the university’s third Giving Day, which ran from noon to noon Feb. 24-25, more than 12,000 alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends combined to provide over $6.1 million in support that will benefit a wide variety of the university’s colleges and programs.

“Giving Day brings out the best in Hokies everywhere, as the Virginia Tech community shows its support for the university’s mission and expanding impact on the world,” said Virginia Tech president Tim Sands. “We’re grateful for all the dedicated Hokies who step forward and make a difference.”

It was Virginia Tech’s first Giving Day since 2019, when more than 6,600 Hokies stepped forward to give over $2.8 million, combined. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led the university not to proceed with a Giving Day that had been planned for spring 2020.

“It’s incredible to see so many people come together once again to show so much generosity,” said Heather Kopec, the university’s director of annual giving. “Virginia Tech supporters really came together in a big way to support their fellow Hokies. This is such a great example of the strength of our community, and it will have a huge, cumulative impact on our university.”

Images that Virginia Tech supporters shared on social media for Giving Day.
Some of the many images that Virginia Tech supporters shared on social media for Giving Day.

Virginia Tech received gifts from Hokies in all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

Engaging over 12,000 donors in a single day required a concerted effort, not just from Virginia Tech faculty and staff but also from a group of more than 700 Giving Day Ambassadors — dedicated Hokies who helped spread the word to their network of friends, family, and colleagues.

Many of those ambassadors met or exceeded the “You+2” goal set by the university, which encouraged them to make their own gift and get at least two people in their networks to follow their lead. Those who met that objective will be awarded a Virginia Tech-branded wireless charger and a variety of other exclusive prizes.

Leanna Blevins, assistant vice president for health sciences education and student affairs at Virginia Tech's Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke, was one of those ambassadors. She reached out to her network of friends and colleagues to encourage them to give in memory of Gil Flores, a close friend and fellow Virginia Tech graduate who passed away from COVID-19 earlier this year.

"I was happy to serve as an ambassador as a way to honor my friend and create an opportunity for those of us who cared about him to do something positive in his memory," said Blevins, who along with her friends provided $680 to the annual fund of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.

Giving Day’s impact was further amplified by numerous challenges, which provided more than $500,000 in bonus funding for dozens of colleges, departments, programs, and student organizations across the university when certain conditions were met.

Some challenges awarded bonuses to units that received the most donations within a window of a few hours. Other challenges rewarded Hokies for taking additional actions such as liking a video posted on a unit’s social media. And certain challenges “unlocked” bonus funds for colleges or programs that qualified by receiving a specified number of gifts.

Unlike past Giving Days, which have traditionally included a mix of opportunities for Hokies to connect through online and in-person celebrations on campus in Blacksburg, this year’s event was a completely digital affair in order to adhere to public health guidelines.

Supporters across the country and around the world were able to share their love of Virginia Tech and their excitement for Giving Day using #VTGivingDay on social media. Many people helped illustrate the global reach of the Hokie Nation by using the hashtag to share photos of the HokieBird from wherever they were.

“Giving Day is an exciting, inspiring example of the power of our community to come together in unique ways to make a positive impact,” said Charlie Phlegar, Virginia Tech’s vice president for advancement. “It demonstrates the commitment of Hokies everywhere to maintaining the bonds that unite us, and to supporting each other and the mission of our university. I could not be more grateful to be a part of such a generous and engaged community.”

Written by Brian Snell.

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