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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Flyer Nation Showed Up in a Tremendous Way in Fiscal Year 2020

By Jen Howe, vice president, University Advancement

On June 30, the University of Dayton completed one of the most challenging years in its 170-year history — facing a global pandemic and turbulent economy that fueled uncertainty in everything we do including University Advancement. However, in many ways, the year was one of extremely rewarding moments, including the reaffirmation of the power of our community. We talk a great deal about the UD community and what makes it unique — but perhaps, it has never been so fully lived and walked as we experienced in 2020. Flyer Nation showed up in a tremendous way — through their volunteerism, mentorship, participation and financial support — allowing us to fulfill our commitment to excellence for UD students, faculty, staff and programs and to pursue our mission of learn, lead and serve.

In a year filled with unexpected challenges for every member of the Flyer family — more than 1,000 graduates, parents and friends of UD found the time to be volunteer leaders across our many boards, councils, cabinets, and other engagement initiatives. More than 1,600 new individuals joined the Front Porch Society, our donor recognition society for those who support UD at any dollar level for three or more years consecutively. Front Porch members now number more than 14,000, and represent one of our most loyal groups of philanthropic investors in UD’s future. And collectively, UD was fortunate to receive $48 million in new commitments in fiscal year 2020 — gifts, pledges and bequests — providing meaningful resources to the institution both today and far into the future. An amazing outcome for a year filled with great uncertainty and change — and proof that our UD community understands what a higher level of sustained support can mean to our campus. Between fiscal year 2017 and today, average new commitments to the University rose by 46% and cash by 32% compared to the previous five fiscal years. This has generated strong momentum toward the eventual launch of our first comprehensive campaign in more than 20 years.

There were many highlights in 2019-2020 to celebrate, with a few moments standing out in my mind.

● An amazing year for the UD men’s and women’s basketball programs, fueled by Flyer mania both on and off the court and including the reopening of the fully renovated UD Arena. Capped off by the first visit to campus by ESPN GameDay on March 7 for the men’s team. The UD Arena was electric that night as the Flyers rightly claimed the national spotlight — its players, coaches and fans all deserving!

● An anonymous alumni couple committed to a $6 million cash gift to support 20 to 25 Flyer Promise Scholars over a five-year period, as well as athletics programs, hands-on learning opportunities for all students, and the establishment of a grant program to seed entrepreneurial endeavors by faculty and staff.

● The launch of multiple new engagement efforts including our mentoring program, Flyer Connection and UDigital to foster greater virtual and digital outreach as well as lifelong learning for our graduates and other constituents.

● A bequest made by Yoshiharu "Yosh" Ohara '52 a decade ago came to fruition at a time when it was arguably needed the most. His estate has directed to date over $2 million in support of key areas at UD including the School of Business Administration Dean's Fund for Excellence and the Brother George W. Nagel, S.M., Memorial Scholarship, which benefits students in finance and accounting.

● The partnership with our Student Alumni Association, Student Philanthropy, and Day10 leaders to create video and another meaningful messaging about the impact of philanthropy and to help bring current students and younger alumni into the conversation. View this great example

● The innovation hub at the Dayton Arcade became “The Hub Powered by PNC Bank” thanks to a gift from PNC Bank. The partnership, UD, PNC Bank and The Entrepreneurs Center will expand programming at The Hub to immerse students in the business community and help entrepreneurs from across the greater Dayton community bring their ideas to life. @PNC

● Almost 1,500 handwritten notes to graduating seniors from UD alumni — congratulating them on their accomplishments and celebrating this moment despite having to reschedule their in-person commencement.

● Seeing new program investments take flight — a 13% increase in parent giving, a 19% increase in peer-to-peer ambassadors, and an 85% increase in student philanthropy leaders on campus.

● The successful pivot of #1Day1Dayton from serving as our second annual giving day to 24 hours of caring and sharing at the height of early-COVID impact and a shift to fully remote work — securing more than 1,500 donors and raising more than $700,000 with significant support to the Student Crisis Fund.

● The current parent who returned their UD housing and food credit from last spring to the University — directing us to use it for a Flyer family who had greater financial need than theirs.

● The 2015 graduate living in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. (if not the world) who took the time to make a $500 gift to the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center in order to ensure every student had the resources they needed when returning home and completing the spring semester remote.

What do all of these moments have in common? They are about UD people taking care of one another. It is what we do, who we are — a community that truly believes we are at our best when #WeAreOne.

View a snapshot of additional fundraising highlights from our fiscal year.

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