The Big Give Inspires More Than 1,000 Gifts to Support UM Students

Mar. 23, 2022

MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s third annual day of giving surpassed last year’s record-breaking giving total and exceeded this year’s goal of 1,000 gifts to support UM students.

The Big Give inspired 1,070 gifts totaling more than $380,000. Alumni, donors, parents and friends from 46 states and nine countries participated in the online giving event during 24 hours from March 9-10.

Top areas of support include Grizzly Athletics, with over 300 gifts totaling more than $120,300, and the President’s Excellence Fund — which provides UM leadership with unrestricted resources to address emerging challenges and opportunities across campus — with over 120 gifts totaling nearly $19,400. Overall, donors selected from more than 40 areas to support, including University priorities like the ElevateU career readiness program; individual schools, colleges and programs; scholarships and student support areas such as the UM Food Pantry; the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library; and much more. 

This year’s theme, “Rise Up Together UM,” encouraged University supporters to unite and make a life-changing impact. Members of the UM giving community rose to the challenge, joining together to celebrate and spread the word about The Big Give. Their collective effort encouraged gifts of every size from alumni and friends around the world.

"Enthusiastic participation across campus helped inspire support for UM and surpass the record-breaking success of last year’s giving day,” said Cindy Williams, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “The continued success of The Big Give is evidence of our community’s collective dedication to support students throughout the year,” Williams said. “We are so inspired by the UM family’s commitment to helping students prepare for lives and careers of impact.”

Big Give donors participated in eight matching gift opportunities during the event. Created by donors who agreed to match gifts to a specific area of the university up to a certain amount, these opportunities added more than $49,000 to the giving day’s total. In addition, the Davidson Honors College, School of Journalism, and College of Humanities and Sciences each received challenge gifts that were “unlocked” when supporters gave a predetermined number of donations, resulting in an additional $65,000 in gifts toward the Big Give total.

New for this year’s event, nearly 40 supporters signed up to be Big Give Ambassadors and help spread awareness for specific giving areas, challenges and matching gift opportunities on their social media channels with the hashtag #UMBigGive. Also new this year, participants watched the day of giving unfold on the Big Give event website,, where giving totals and social media feeds highlighted progress throughout the day. Additionally, visitors to the University Center during The Big Give were invited to vote for their favorite support area, and the most popular choice — Curry Health Center — received a gift of $1,000.

“To UM supporters, thank you so much for your devotion,” Williams said. “Your generosity makes an immediate, transformative impact for current and future Grizzlies."

Donors who missed The Big Give but would still like to make a difference for students can do so by giving at

The Big Give is managed by the University of Montana Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that has inspired philanthropic support to enhance excellence and opportunity at UM since 1950.