Kent State’s Giving Tuesday Brings in Record-Breaking $7.7 Million

More than 3,000 donors came together to make the world Forever Brighter for Kent State students

This year, Kent State University donors demonstrated the power of philanthropy by giving at unprecedented levels. The 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign shattered the previous records, more than tripling last year’s record of $2.2 million. The university has been participating in Giving Tuesday for the past seven years, and in that time, it has become Kent State’s most generous annual tradition and a point of pride for the entire Golden Flashes community.

The 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign is no exception as alumni, friends, faculty and staff raised more than $7.71 million in support of students and university programs. This included $6.25 million from legacy gifts, $150,000 from Kent State University Foundation matching gifts and $1.3 million from outright gifts and matches. Kent State students also got involved in giving back by participating in a food drive challenge against the University of Akron from Nov. 1-20. Kent State won the challenge with 293 items compared to the University of Akron’s 224. 
“Kent State donors have been raising the bar on Giving Tuesday donations for years, but this year is truly remarkable,” said Valoree Vargo, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement at Kent State and CEO of the Kent State University Foundation. “Philanthropy is a pillar of Kent State in a very real sense. Our donors make it possible to provide vital support to our students and elevate this university to new heights. The overwhelming generosity our community showed this Giving Tuesday will build a brighter tomorrow for all of our students.”
The 2021 campaign’s nearly 50 featured funds centered around the university’s recently launched Forever Brighter comprehensive fundraising campaign goal to prioritize student success through scholarships and programs within four key areas of ensuring access, rewarding achievement, enhancing experiences and fostering completion as well as two capital projects for the Ashtabula and Geauga campuses. With the support of more than 3,000 donors, Kent State students will be able to focus on their studies first as they pursue their degrees, utilize new and innovative learning spaces and open doors to high-impact experiences that will serve them in their personal and professional lives.
Throughout the Giving Tuesday campaign, donors awaited special giving incentives announced each Tuesday that provided opportunities to make the impact of their gift go further. The first incentive, Triple Your Gift Tuesday, came on Nov. 2, jump-starting the campaign. Participation boosts were also available, which awarded an extra $500 for every 20 unique donors who gave $25 or more to a featured fund.
“Part of what makes Kent State’s Giving Tuesday so special are these giving incentives,” said Danielle Hupp, senior associate director of communications and giving initiatives at Kent State. “Our donors want to make the biggest impact possible, and every additional dollar raised during this campaign leads to even greater opportunities for Kent State students. Plus, being a part of such a large and meaningful movement makes giving more exciting!”
Overall, the Kent State Wrestling Enhancement Fund was the highest-earning featured fund this year, raising more than $44,300 to support travel, equipment, recruitment and other needs of the wrestling program. Two other notable funds were the Baseball Enhancement Fund, which raised the most dollars during Donor/Dollar Challenge Week from Nov. 16-23, while the Michael J. Gallagher II Memorial Scholarship won the challenge for bringing in the most unique donors. Each earned an additional $2,500 for their fund.
As the 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign comes to a close, Kent State President Todd Diacon has a special message for Golden Flashes available at

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Media Contact:
Leigh Greenfelder,, 330-672-7108

POSTED: Thursday, December 2, 2021 09:07 AM
UPDATED: Sunday, March 03, 2024 06:39 AM
Bethany Sava