Donors made big impact during annual online giving event

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
UNH students walking toward Thompson Hall at sunset with text saying thank you for rising to the #UNH603 Challenge

In early June, UNH’s third annual iteration of The (603) Challenge rallied 4,246 donors who supported more than 150 programs and raised $414,905 during 150 hours of online giving.

Behind this record-breaking success was a group of underwriters, including lead donors Linda Rydin ’71 and Craig Rydin ’73, who collectively provided an additional $261,000 in matching and bonus challenge funds. Dovetailing with their generosity was a flurry of enthusiastic and creative outreach on social media from areas across the university.

“The (603) Challenge is a fantastic way to support UNH students and faculty who are making the world a better place,” says Blake Skidmore ’07, one of the challenge underwriters. “Knowing that we are helping make a global impact with the challenge is truly exciting.”

“The (603) Challenge simply could not exist without the matching funds,” says Jackie Peterson, director of annual giving at UNH. “UNH is so grateful to our underwriters whose support encourages other gifts by increasing the impact individuals who give at every level can have on areas they care about.”

The real winner of The (603) Challenge is UNH. Alumni participation rates are an important benchmark for institutions of higher education, and the challenge has helped UNH achieve an increase in year-over-year alumni giving at a time when most schools are seeing a decline. This is an exciting trend to see during the university’s 150th anniversary year and the first year of CELEBRATE 150: The Campaign for UNH, Peterson says.

Join the Celebration by June 30

The UNH pride shown through annual gifts this year is extraordinary, and it’s not too late to be a part of it.

All gifts made by June 30 count toward this fiscal year.

Your gift of any amount will make an immediate difference for your designated area of the university.

Give Now

The Bonus Challenge Breakdown

In addition to providing $150,000 for matching individual gifts of up to $150 per donor, the challenge underwriters and other donors sponsored bonus challenges that awarded prizes or augmented individual gifts to program areas across the university. These proved to be popular incentives to give, even after the matching funds had run out.

The $10,000 University Bonus Challenge awarded funds to the three designations with the most donors at the end of the challenge:

  • First Place: $5,000 – Friends of Skiing
  • Second Place: $3,000 – UNH Cat Club (Football)
  • Third Place: $2,000 – Paul College

Friends of Cheerleading took home $5,000 in the Photo Contest Bonus Challenge for receiving the most "likes" on their entry.

The Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics successfully met a challenge issued by Kevin Knarr ’91, who donated $30,000 to support Paul College scholarships once the college crossed the 200-donor mark.

UNH Manchester faculty members Barbara Jago and Susan Walsh gave $5,000 to the newly established UNH Manchester Book Fund when 50 donors met their challenge to support UNH Manchester.

Kathy Hall ’66 and Marty Hall ’60 issued a $20,000 challenge to UNH skiing supporters, who shot past the goal of 375 donors to collect the bonus.

On the third day of the challenge, 200 UNH alumni stepped up to claim $10,000 in bonus funds, adding a nifty $50 each to their gifts.

Six random donors selected during a series of $1K Power Hours each earned $1,000 bonuses for the psychology department, Friends of Field Hockey, OISS Global Fund and Friends of Cheerleading and $500 each to the Neil B. Vroman Memorial Fund and Elizabeth A. Stewart Memorial Fund.

During the 6-0-3 Bonus Bucks challenge, 100 donors parlayed the 6, 0 and 3 in their gift amounts into a $50 bonus toward the area they supported.

Finally, the 20-Grand Finale closed The (603) Challenge with a flourish when 631 donors who had not yet contributed to the challenge each added a portion of $20,000 in bonus funds to their gifts.

Photographer: 
Jeremy Gasowski | Communications and Public Affairs | jeremy.gasowski@unh.edu | 603-862-4465