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Rising to the Challenge

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
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Spirit of giving skyrockets during 1869 Challenge

Trinity’s 1869 Challenge set high goals in 2019—and then shattered them.

The University challenged alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends of the University to come together for 1,869 minutes and make at least 3,100 gifts, which would unlock $31,000 from a group of anonymous donors. 

Trinity blew past that goal with four hours to spare, then crushed the next challenge of 3,500 gifts just more than an hour later. When the dust settled, the 1869 Challenge resulted in 4,711 gifts, raising $556,016 for student scholarships, academics, athletics, campus life, and more.

“The outpouring of love from the Trinity community was amazing,” says Michael Bacon, vice president for Alumni Relations and Development. “Across the country, alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff and friends showed their pride. This was a team effort, and everyone stepped up to do their part.”

This historic giving period saw skyrocketing engagement at all levels, from anonymous donors making last-minute matching gifts to students visiting giving tables on campus and the challenge website with gifts to support their favorite student organization or academic department.

This enthusiasm spilled over to the 1869 micro challenges, where Tigers supported the areas of campus they’re most passionate about. These contests earned additional funding for student organizations, departments, Greek scholarships and athletic teams with top-notch participation.

A barnburner of an academic department contest saw classical studies’ 86 gifts narrowly edge sociology and anthropology’s 84 gifts, earning $2,500 and $1,500 prizes for each department respectively. With 44 gifts, chemistry took the third place prize of $500.

Donors easily unlocked the 76-gift requirement for the $10,000 John Donahue Award for Social Justice.

In athletics, Trinity baseball enjoyed a strong showing with 354 gifts, earning the top athletics prize of $3,000. For the Greek life challenge, Zeta Chi received 450 gifts and won first place. Student organizations saw 169 gifts for Mock Trial Club, earning the first place prize of $500. With 141 gifts, Young Conservatives of Texas took $250, while 110 gifts gave the Catholic Student Association the third place prize of $100.

All told, Tigers completed more than 30 micro challenges. Throughout the entire 1,869 minute period, the University community continued to rise to each challenge in front of them.

“What better year than Trinity’s 150th celebration to make history with this giving challenge? Bacon says. “Every generation that comes through the University has built, and continues to build, a brighter future for the next wave. In giving through this challenge, you’ve joined this culture of philanthropy, and you’ve joined a growing, evolving, powerful force for good.”]

Gifts to Trinity are already helping academics provide life-altering opportunities, student athletes break records, and student organizations create an unforgettable, vibrant campus environment. This overwhelming support for our campus community will help Trinity continue to raise its sights and build momentum.

The 1869 Challenge is just one part of Trinity’s year-round work to raise funds for student scholarships and to enrich the on campus student experience. The Challenge is over, but the University still welcomes your support