April 10, 2014

First-ever, One-day Fundraising Challenge Surpasses Donor Goal by 225 Percent

More than 650 Donated to The Great 24-hour Giving Challenge – One Gift Every 2 Minutes

The State University of New York SUNY Empire State College unified logo(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – April 10, 2014) More than 650 alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends from 25 states contributed to "The Great 24-hour Giving Challenge," SUNY Empire State College’s first-ever, one-day fundraising challenge. On average, the college received one gift every two minutes.

The goal and purpose of the challenge, which took place on April 9, was to bring the college community together for one day, increase participation in giving to the college and reconnect with many of the college’s 70,000 alumni in order to expand the college’s mission of education and degree completion for nontraditional students.

The Great 24-hr Giving Challenge LogoThe original goal for the challenge was to have 200 people participate by giving any amount within 24 hours in order to qualify for a $50,000 matching gift. That goal was surpassed before 11 a.m.

The challenge was driven primarily by the college’s social media presence in coordination and cooperation with Generation SUNY, the social media team of the State University of New York.

‌“Thank you to all of the donors who contributed to the overwhelming success of SUNY Empire State College’s 24-hour giving campaign,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “This creative call for support far exceeded our expectations and it sets a high bar for future philanthropic efforts across SUNY. Congratulations to President Hancock and the many Empire State College staff who made this campaign such a success."

"What a tremendous day for SUNY Empire State College," said President Merodie Hancock. "I am so honored to be part of a college community that shows its support for our continued efforts to open doors for our current and future students. From Eagle River, Alaska, to Mastic, Long Island, our amazing donors reinforce our mission to be SUNY's statewide, open-access college. A special thank you goes out to our major donors, who inspired so many others to give."

The college used the number of participants, instead of an overall dollar amount, to trigger substantial matching gifts, which proved successful.

The first challenge gift was provided by Empire State College Foundation Board of Directors members and faculty mentors Robert Carey and David Fullard. Carey and Fullard are professors in the areas of social science and historical studies.

As a result of the early success, alumnus Terry Fokas ’93, who also is a college foundation board member, stepped forward with a new $10,000 challenge to double the original goal of 200 and attract a total of 400 donors. This challenge was surpassed by 4 p.m.

Inspired by the events of the day, faculty mentor Kesiah Scully, a professor in the area of business management and economics, contributed $25,000.

More than 650 people helped to raise more than $140,000 in one day, with donors and contributions still being tallied.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students average age 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918


518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)