#GiveLikeAViking Breaks Records

Giving Day at Augustana

Augustana's Giving Day set a record for the largest number of gifts received during a one-day period.
* Donor Breakdown: Total is greater than 100 percent due to some donors falling into multiple categories.


Giving Day sets single-day Augustana record for most gifts received in a 24-hour period.

On Augustana’s first Giving Day, the challenge was to #GiveLikeAViking to support scholarships for students.

AU Vikings near and far heard the call. And they delivered.

The 24-hour giving event held on Thursday, March 2, raised $135,968  from 282 donors. The goal — reaching 200 donors — was met at 4:20 p.m. Gifts came in from 33 states and the District of Columbia, with Augustana alumni making up 69 percent of donors.

Graduates from the classes of 1954 through 2016 came forward to show their love for their alma mater and the faculty and staff who made an impact on their lives.

“[I’m] thankful for the four years I had at Augie,” Kristin Barnett Lewis ‘03 wrote in a Facebook post. “For the friends I made. For the latte addiction started by Dorothy in the Huddle. For staff that encouraged and supported and most importantly listened like Paul, Mary, Chris, Traci, Jim, Carol, Bob, Nancy, Patty, and countless more. For professors who challenged, stretched, enlightened, and encouraged my thinking, knowledge, and passions like [Drs.] Swanson, Haar, Bart, Schotten, Nesiba, and many more."

"With a grateful heart I #GiveLikeAViking so the possibilities sparked by this place can continue.”

— Kristin Barnett Lewis '03

Giving Day set a single-day record for Augustana, marking the largest number of gifts ever received in one day, said Amy Benda ’89, director of annual giving.

“Words can’t express how grateful we are to our alumni, friends, parents, students, faculty and staff for supporting Augustana on Giving Day,” Benda said. “This place, its people, and the impact it has both on students and the world we call home is so significant. By raising more money for student scholarships, we are ensuring that even more young people will have an opportunity to experience Augustana and earn the education of enduring worth held so dear by more than 25,000 Augie alumni around the world today.”

Among alumni, the Class of 2016 set the record for most gifts received, buoyed by Thomas Elness who made 20 gifts in honor of 20 Augustana community members who impacted his life. Among all gifts received on Giving Day, 143 were given "in honor of" special individuals, including Augustana faculty, staff, coaches, students and others.

Gifts ranged in size from $5 to $50,000. A couple who graduated in the 1980s made an anonymous $50,000 donation midday as a challenge gift. The gift inspired additional gifts of both treasure and time throughout the day.

Pamela Runestad ’00 took time to share her #AugieLove about the professors and staff members who impacted her most, including Donn Grinager, director of International Programs.

“I first got to know Donn when I came to Augie and started poking around for options to study Japanese. … Because of Donn’s help, I did JET [Japan Exchange and Teaching Program], which helped get me the connections I needed to do my Ph.D. research ... My daughter was also born in Nagano, Japan, where I did JET and my Ph.D. research. Japan is the background and context of so much of my adult life — I’ve spent 10 years there total — that I can’t imagine who I’d be without these experiences. Thank you, Donn, for helping me make the best out of my life through study abroad,” Runestad wrote on Facebook.

Excitement for Giving Day was amplified on social media. The event garnered more than 44,000 impressions (including likes, comments, shares and views of content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn). Augie Fans, official AU social media ambassadors, further amplified the call to #GiveLikeAViking, generating nearly 5,000 impressions for Giving Day. See the spirit of Giving Day in tweets and posts.

On campus, Giving Day coincided with #AugieLove, a day-long drive to encourage students, faculty and staff to write thank-you notes to Augustana donors. The University collected more than 500 thank-you notes that donors will receive later this month.

Watch a recap of Giving Day

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Media Relations