An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Fifth MIT 24-Hour Challenge Raises $3.4 Million

  • Brian Geer
  • Slice of MIT

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The first MIT 24-Hour Challenge was held in 2017 during a blizzard in Cambridge that shut down campus. Last year’s Challenge took place the day after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and the event was recast to help the Institute in its urgent response efforts.

This year, the March 11 event took place entirely online, but like the preceding four giving days, its variable circumstances were met with a constant: an outpouring of support from alumni and friends around the globe. The results: $3.4 million was raised during a single day to help the MIT community meet the great challenges facing humankind.

Gifts came in from all 50 US states and 81 other countries, with an online ticker tracking the progress as thousands contributed. In honor of its fifth year, the Challenge was aimed at encouraging 5,000 people to give. After the Challenge passed that mark at 7:00 p.m. ET, Sang Han ’93 offered up a special additional goal: If 1,500 more contributed, they would unlock a $100,000 gift from him to MIT. That stretch goal was surpassed, too.

When the clock struck midnight in Cambridge, the donor count was 7,486.

“These results are beyond inspiring,” says Steven Larky ’84, chair of the MIT Annual Fund Board. “They tell a story of a worldwide giving movement, now in its fifth year, that continues to unite us all through our commitment to the people, the programs, and the principles of MIT.

In addition to the overarching goals, numerous MIT programs and groups—including the MIT Energy Initiative, MITx, and MIT10—held microchallenges throughout the day to support discrete initiatives. Championed by Institute faculty and staff and MIT alumni and friend volunteers, 36 microchallenges were able to achieve their donor or donation aims.

The continuing success of MIT’s annual giving day can be attributed in great part to its Challenge Ambassadors—MIT community members who advocate for participation peer-to-peer via social media, email, texts, and other outreach. This year, 443 volunteers worked to share the word about #MIT24.

“We want to thank everyone who gave and who contributed their time and energy to ensuring the success of our fifth Challenge,” says Whitney T. Espich, chief executive officer of the MIT Alumni Association. “During this challenging time for communities around the globe—including our own here in Cambridge—it is inspiring to see so many show up in support of the MIT students, faculty, and staff who are working to make a better world for us all.”

The MIT 24-Hour Challenge is a big moment for community giving, but alumni and friends can make a direct impact 365 days a year. Please consider making a gift today—and help MIT students, faculty, and staff meet the great challenges before us.

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