#TigerTuesday raises more than $680,000 in one day

More than 1,700 donors gave to the Sewanee Fund

Tuesday, April 17, was Sewanee’s second one-day giving challenge—#TigerTuesday—and it once again engaged the University family around the world. The event raised an unprecedented $682,051 for the Sewanee Fund from 1,711 generous donors.

“As happened last year, this year’s event was kick-started by the generosity of some challenge donors. These alumni came together to inspire the rest of the University family to support the Sewanee Fund,” said Whitney Franklin, director of the Sewanee Fund. “They offered to match the first $150,000 in gifts and to provide an additional $100,000 if at least 1,000 donors made a gift by the end of the day. Our friends and family reached those goals by mid-afternoon!”

At mid-day, another anonymous donor offered another match—$50 per additional donor, up to $25,000—helping to push participation numbers throughout the afternoon. 

While emails and social media posts began the day before, #TigerTuesday commenced in earnest with early-morning messages on the 17th. “This year, multiple parts of the campus were very involved in the effort,” said Franklin. “Various offices, all the athletic teams—so many people pitched in to explain why the Sewanee Fund makes a difference to their work with students.” (Story continues below the graphic.)


Director of Career & Leadership Development Kim Heitzenrater, C’89, implemented a day-long social media strategy that included videos shot by Jack Holloway, C’21, and posted to Instagram and Facebook. In them, students and alumni spoke about the impact and value of their internships. “Last year, the addition of Sewanee Fund gifts allowed us to increase the percentage of students funded (for otherwise unpaid internships and research experiences) from 74 to 97 percent of those who applied,” said Heitzenrater. “Participating in #TigerTuesday was a fun way to demonstrate the impact of gifts to potential donors. We're grateful to the donors who chose to support students in this way."

Michele Dombrowski, head women’s lacrosse and assistant field hockey coach, took a shift answering phones during the day. “The success of #TigerTuesday is really indicative of a Sewanee strength—the ability to work together and celebrate together,” she said. “It’s evident that Sewanee touches people's hearts while they are here and long after they've left (and come back). I'm grateful to know that the University of the South inspires such devotion.”

Members of the Sewanee family logged almost 8,000 #TigerTuesday social interactions, inspired each other through various social media channels by offering additional challenges, and alumni across the country compared class standings. Donations came in from 42 states, as well as from Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

“Thank you to all the members of the extended Sewanee family who participated in #TigerTuesday and made it such a success. I thought last year’s total in gifts was remarkable—and to surpass it this year is a real testament to the love so many have for this place. We are especially grateful to the challenge donors who launched this effort with their leadership, and who inspired our alumni, parents, students, and friends,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell.

As a part of Stronger Truer Sewanee—The Campaign for the University of the South, the Sewanee Fund defines and shapes the current student experience by providing support for institutional priorities, including financial aid, research and internship opportunities, the arts, and athletics. The extraordinary support generated by #TigerTuesday has placed the Sewanee Fund in good position to reach its goals by the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30, 2018.

See Career & Leadership Development’s campaign on Instagram and Facebook.