All in for Wesleyan

The Challenge is Crushed!

Aug. 27, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and students rallied together in response to a one-day giving challenge on July 17, to show that we're "All in for Wesleyan."

More than 2,500 donors raised approximately $480,000, including challenge gifts. Their generous support will help keep an IWU education accessible to incredible students.

Some highlights, by the numbers:

  • Of the donors who participated in the challenge, 1,900 were alumni. 
  • 302 people made their first gift ever to IWU on that day (177 of these were alumni)
  • Over 1,000 people had already given during the fiscal year and made an additional gift on July 17 (845 were alumni)
  • 74 members of the Class of 2013 gave on July 17 as brand-new graduates (62 of them had already given to their senior class gift this spring)
  • 37 first-year students, sophomores and juniors made gifts on July 17 (NOTE: Neither 2013 graduates nor students were directly asked to participate)

The University's "All in for Wesleyan" challenge began when Illinois Wesleyan trustee John Horton '82 and his wife, Joann, offered a gift of $100,000 if alumni and friends could raise $50,000 in one day. This sparked an extraordinary day:

Noon – Our alumni and friends stepped up to the challenge and raised $50,000 before noon on Wednesday, July 17.

1 p.m. – In addition, Howard '60 and Sharon '60 Fricke offered a $10,000 gift if 600 gifts were given. That challenge was met before 1 p.m.

3 p.m. – Ed '62 and Lin Phelps offered the next challenge: $25,000 if over 1,000 gifts were made on this day of giving. More alumni and friends answered the call and we crossed the 1,000 gift mark before 3 p.m.

Continuing throughout the day, as one challenge was met, another was made: Korey '00 and Heidi Coon offered a $15,000 challenge if we could reach 1,200 gifts.

5 p.m. – That threshold was reached and yet another challenge came through after 5 p.m.: Dr. Mike Sombeck '83 offered a gift of $25,000 if the number of donors reached 1,500.

Midnight – Titans got it done. And two more families, energized by the overwhelming response thus far, sweetened the challenge for gifts made before midnight, CDT.

Dr. Randy '73 & Jodie Reed offered $25,000 and Ed '62 & Lin Phelps added $10,000 more to match every new gift, dollar for dollar... up to a total of $35,000.

The money raised will go directly to student scholarships and financial aid. Supporters were asked to make a gift of any size at www.iwu.edu/challenge – and spread the word #IWUchallenge.

Proud alumni came through with an outpouring on social media.

Feedback or suggestions? Email advancement@iwu.edu.