Jan. 20, 2021

Record-setting year for 2020 UCalgary United Way campaign

Fundraising goal exceeded during a challenging year
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Fundraising goal exceeded during a challenging year 

Despite a challenging year, University of Calgary students, faculty, staff and volunteers stepped up once again to support UCalgary's annual United Way campaign, raising $780,511, far exceeding the $600,000 goal set when it kicked off last October.  

This is the seventh year in a row that the university has set a record for the United Way, with 820 community members donating to the campaign, raising $55,588 more than 2019's total of $724,923.

Dr. Cindy Graham, 2020 campaign co-chair and vice-dean of the Faculty of Science, says she’s incredibly proud of how the community responded to the campaign, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We know 2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone, and it continues to be more important than ever to support those in need in our community," says Graham, BSc'94, PhD'01. "I am so proud of how the whole university rose to the challenge and helped us meet and exceed our campaign goals.

“The United Way is a longtime partner of the university and, by working together, we are helping to do good in our community and address some of the most pressing issues we’re facing as a society.”   

Re-imagining fundraising in a COVID-19 world meant many of the campaign’s annual events were moved online. Chillin’ 4 Charity saw participants take an icy winter dip over Instagram; puzzle-lovers participated in an online escape room; and staff shared their appreciation for one another by sending virtual "Givin’ Thanks" stars.  

“We knew we would have to change the way we fundraised this year, and it was a challenge we were prepared to face,” says Dr. Natasha Kenny, 2020 campaign co-chair and senior director of the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning.  

“UCalgary is known for its innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, and the community used that energy, drive and optimism to help us far exceed our goal. We’re so proud of the creativity and generosity that volunteers brought to this year’s campaign.”  

Special events raised more than $26,000, with core donors raising nearly $100,000 and major donations totalling more than $320,000. This year, there was also a record number of leader-level donors, with 187 donors bringing in more than $317,000. 

UCalgary's 2020 United Way campaign by the numbers

Awards for outstanding campaign performance 

At the virtual wrap-up event, several awards were given to faculties and units that excelled in their campaigns:  

  • Very Special Events, given to the faculty or unit raising the most money through special events  Haskayne School of Business 

  • Hard Core, given to the faculty or unit with the largest number of Core donors, which is any donation of less than $1,200  Cumming School of Medicine 

  • Leader in Leadership Donors, presented to the faculty or unit that had the largest amount of Leadership Giving donations, which is any donation amount between $1,200 and $10,000  Cumming School of Medicine 

  • Mover & Shaker, given to the faculty or unit with the biggest growth in pledged donations and donors over the previous year  Faculty of Veterinary Medicine 

  • Cannon Challenge Cup, awarded based on the amount of money raised in employee donations and special events, as well as participation levels  Faculty of Graduate Studies 

Congratulations, UCalgary!