Members of the Holy Cross community participate in the I Love HC, 24 hour, giving challenge. Photo by Tom Rettig
This past Feb. 14 was a Valentine’s Day for the books. The record books, that is! For 24 hours, the Holy Cross community was challenged to show its love for the College in the form of a fundraising challenge, ‘I LOVE HC.’ The goal was ambitious and the stakes were high. If, within the 24-hour duration of the challenge, the College received gifts from 4,000 donors, an anonymous group of alumni would contribute $1 million to the Challenge.
The Challenge was launched at midnight on the 14th, as students were invited to a “midnight breakfast,” a bounty of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and heart-shaped, red bagels — served up by the members of the Advancement and Athletics staff.
Students arrived in droves and led the early donations until sun-up, when the rest of the Holy Cross community began opening emails, texts, and tweets devoted to the ‘I Love Holy Cross’ event. As expected, the competition between classes immediately heated up. Along the way, “milestone” donors—such as the 1,000th, 2,000th, and 3,000th contributors — received special “digital” thank-yous, including videos of flowers and chocolates delivered by Iggy, the Crusader himself, and a reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, by faculty favorite, Professor Helen Whall.
It was clear by late afternoon that the goal would be reached and surpassed, and the $1 million bonus attained. The question then, according to Fr. Boroughs, became this: How many donors beyond the original goal could be counted by midnight?
The answer was unprecedented: 6,111 donors contributed $1,848,787, results that shattered the previous donor record at a liberal arts college, set by Colgate in 2013. An analysis of the Challenge statistics revealed a number of key highlights: Younger alumni, for example, were particularly interested in the Challenge, as 61 percent of all donations came from the classes of the 1990s through the 2010s. Student participation was extraordinary, with 49.4 percent of seniors participating — making the Class of 2017 the top-giving class. The Challenge clearly struck a chord with senior-athletes, a group that ended the day with a 100 percent participation rate.
“The results speak volumes,” said Tracy Barlok, vice president for advancement. “Prior to the Challenge, we actually wondered if our goal was too ambitious. But apparently, you cannot overestimate the loyalty and support of the Holy Cross community. Donations came from alumni, faculty, students, staff, and friends of the College. And non-alumni parents of current students were very involved and generous, as well. Our results speak to the way people feel about Holy Cross.
“The Challenge was aptly named,” she added. “People clearly love this College.”
Select Media Coverage:
Thank You – Feb. 15 – 12:00 a.m. – 6,111 donors
Thank You to our 5,000th Donor – Feb. 14 – 8:30 p.m.
Let’s Get to 5,000 – Feb. 14 – 6:00 p.m.
Thank You to our 4,000th Donor – Feb. 14 – 5:30 p.m.
Thank You to our 3,000th Donor – Feb. 14 – 3:03 p.m.
Thank You to our 2,000th Donor – Feb. 14 – 12:00 p.m.
Thank You to our 1,000th Donor – Feb. 14 – 9:38 a.m.
I Love Holy Cross. Give Purple! – Feb. 14 – 12:00 a.m.
I Love Holy Cross. Give Purple! – Teaser – Feb. 8
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