The MIT Alumni Association launched its second MIT 24-Hour Challenge on March 14, hoping that once again thousands of alumni and friends would respond to its call to support of the Institute’s most pressing needs. The Association set a lofty goal to exceed last year’s inaugural success: if a tau-themed 6,283 people gave to MIT that day, an anonymous alumnus donor would give a pi-themed $314,000 challenge gift.
In true MIT style, when the clock struck midnight in Cambridge on Pi Day, that goal had been surpassed: all told, 8,673 donors had given to MIT. Not only was the challenge gift unlocked, but another anonymous donor offered a $50,000 bonus gift, taking the final fundraising tally for the day to more than $3.4 million.
“This year’s MIT 24-Hour Challenge served as a remarkably strong rallying moment for MIT,” said Whitney Espich, CEO of the MIT Alumni Association. “Alumni, friends, students, parents, MIT administration, faculty, staff—everyone came out on Pi Day to say ‘I support MIT. I support its capacity to make a better world. And I want to be counted in that mission.’”
The challenge generated a 43 percent rise in the number donors over last year, including 2,285 donors who hadn’t made a gift to MIT in many years, or ever. Many of these individuals made their gifts to one of the 53 micro-challenges supporting MIT programs and students; others chose to give to unrestricted funding.
“Unrestricted funding defines the possible at MIT,” said Espich. “These critical dollars support advances in education, research, and innovation that have a serious impact on transforming society. These dollars allow us to be nimble and responsive to the fast-changing world around us.”
Much of the day’s success was attributed to the challenge’s web ambassadors, who took to their social media networks and personal email lists to spread the word to peers. (Please see the slideshow to learn about the experiences of the top volunteer web ambassadors.)
Although the second MIT 24-Hour Challenge is now history, the funds raised will continue to support MIT students and programs today and in the near future.