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One Day. One KU. reaches new height, raising nearly $3.4 million in fourth year

February 19, 2021

KU’s fourth annual One Day. One KU. giving day brought in gifts benefiting everything from butterflies to Alzheimer’s disease research on its most successful giving day to date.

The 24-hour event on Feb. 18 raised a total of $3,396,158 from 5,412 gifts to support the University of Kansas, including a $1 million gift to benefit the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center. That surpasses last year’s achievement of 3,239 gifts totaling $1,771,135.

"Throwback" photos from (top to bottom) Alex Kong, Mehrdad Givechi and Allison Long won $100 each to their favorite areas at KU.

A big reason for this year’s success was match and challenge gifts. Donors established 112 challenges and matches to empower donors to increase the impact of their gifts.

The day also had its share of firsts.

KU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participated in One Day. One KU. for the first time. The institute provides high-quality educational enrichment courses and events for seniors “50 and better.”

Osher director Linda Kehres was thrilled with donors’ giving day generosity.

“Our program is critical in providing lifelong learners with the opportunity to stay engaged during these times of isolation,” Kehres said. “We’re incredibly thankful to all who gave today.” 

Another first was a gift of $10,000 through Facebook — the largest gift received on social media since the inception of the giving day in 2018. The gift, from Mary Haddican of St. John, Kansas, benefited the KU School of Medicine-Salina.

“I grew up in Satanta, Kansas — I know the importance of rural health care,” Haddican said in an email.

Monarch Watch, a nonprofit butterfly conservation organization based at KU, received more than $50,325 through 782 gifts in their second year of participation in One Day. One KU.

Angie Babbit, Monarch Watch communications coordinator, says the organization will use a good portion of the gifts to provide monarch-friendly milkweed plants to schools, nonprofits and land restoration projects.

“We are amazed at the response and so appreciative of all our donors,” Babbit said. “We plan to distribute over 66,000 plants in 2021 through our free milkweeds programs.”

Coco, in KU jersey, won the Twitter pet photo contest.

Social media was also home to photos of Jayhawk pets and memories throughout the day, with Arianna Chavarria winning the pet drawing with a photo of her dog, Coco. Her $500 prize went to the Provost’s Match for the Jayhawk Student Support Fund.

Photos tagged #throwbackthursday showed Jayhawks from various eras enjoying games, gatherings and graduations through the years. The three winners each received $100 to give to their favorite area of KU:

  • Mehrdad Givechi, razing McCollum; Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department
  • Alex Kong, “Thrift Shop” on stage; University Honors Program
  • Allison Long, Kappa Kappa Gamma; military-affiliated programs Heart of America Patriot Foundation match

The biggest gift to come in was such a surprise, it brought one person to tears. Patty Garney found out about the $1 million gift to the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center in a grocery store parking lot.

“I had to put the car in park, and I just started sobbing,” Garney said.

Dave and Jamie Cummings of Parkville, Mo., made the gift in honor of Patty’s husband, Charles Garney, founder of Garney Construction Co. and Briarcliff Development Co. in Kansas City, Mo. Dave Cummings came to know Charles Garney through Briarcliff and considered him an important business mentor.

“I am so appreciative and grateful,” Patty Garney said of the Cummings’ gift. “They know their gift is going to help people they’ll never get to know.”

“This year’s One Day. One KU. surpassed all expectations and showed the true commitment of donors to the University of Kansas,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “Donors stepped up at record levels to support KU in these times of great need. We couldn’t be more thankful for every meaningful gift that totaled such a tremendous result.”

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Posted on
February 19, 2021
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Michelle Keller
Assistant Vice President, Communications & Donor Relations
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