Notre Dame to hold second annual ND Day
Emily McConville | Friday, April 24, 2015
Starting Sunday, the University will hold its second annual Notre Dame Day, a 29-hour fundraising campaign that includes a live broadcast, a tug-of-war tournament, a social media lounge, the unveiling of The Shirt and the distribution of $1 million to more than 780 Notre Dame-affiliated organizations.
The campaign will begin at 6:42 p.m. Sunday and end at midnight April 27. For the entire day, there will be a broadcast streaming on the Notre Dame Day website, featuring student organizations, current students, alumni, faculty and other notable figures such as ESPN’s Cris Collinsworth, former pro football player Brady Quinn and author Nicholas Sparks, who will talk about their experience with Notre Dame and encourage people to donate. The broadcast will also feature remote interviews and performances around campus, Notre Dame Day program director Aaron Wall said.
The campaign also includes voting for how a ‘Challenge Fund’ of $1 million will be distributed to hundreds of clubs, academic departments, teams, dorms and other “areas of interest” listed on the Notre Dame Day website.
By donating $10 through the website or by phone or text, donors receive five votes, which they can direct to any of the listed entities. After the campaign ends, each organization will receive a piece of the Challenge Fund proportional to the number of votes it received.
For example, Wall said if 10,000 donations are made, as he anticipates, an organization will win roughly $20 for each individual vote it receives, though the exact amount will vary based on how many donations come in.
Wall said donors have to give $10 to be able to vote, and while they can give more if they choose, a gift of any size still garners only five votes, and each subsequent gift of $10 or more gets one additional vote. Wall said the purpose of these limits is to make sure everyone has the power to direct the Challenge Fund regardless of how much they are able to donate.
“There are so many people that love Notre Dame, and all of them do not have the capacity to make those large gifts,” he said. “So through this million-dollar challenge fund, we’re putting a generational and income-level equity among all Notre Dame people, everyone in the community — faculty, staff, alums, people who just love the University.”
As a result, some organizations stand to receive hundreds or thousands of dollars through the Challenge Fund voting. Wall said Knott Hall, for example, garnered eight percent of the vote for last year’s $250,000 Challenge Fund, allowing the hall to create a new weight room.
While there are some limits on how the money can be used and each organization will not actually receive the money for another six weeks or so, Wall said participating organizations will generally be able to spend the money they raise as they see fit.
“It’s meant to be on a large-scale mission of improvement,” Wall said. “[For example,] if Cavanaugh raised $10,000 through Notre Dame Day —[that’s] one percent of the vote — the idea isn’t to have pizza every night in Cavanaugh. That’s not what the money is used for. It should be to improve the long-term health of the residents, both physically and communally. It could mean that you take 20 girls to Costa Rica for a service project, but it also could mean new couches.”
Several anonymous families donated the million dollars for the Challenge Fund in advance, Wall said. As is the case with normal financial gifts, donors who give $10 to participate in the voting can say where they want that money to be allocated: academics, financial aid, mission and service, student life, athletics, any other indicated organization or to “greatest need,” which Wall said can be used for any emergency expense but usually ends up in the financial aid fund.
Students can also participate in a tug-of-war tournament Monday at 3 p.m., where dorms will compete for a $4,000 first prize, Wall said. Meanwhile, a social media lounge with food in the LaFortune Student Center will be available all day.
Wall said planning for Notre Dame Day required custom-building a mechanism for taking and displaying Challenge Fund votes, working out how to distribute the funds and approve how they are used and explaining to clubs and other campus entities how the campaign works. A committee of senior University administrators guided the process.
“It’s been really fun to work with a lot of the clubs who are really into this,” he said. “They go out, and they’re just promoting to anybody in their listservs and social media.”
The goal, Wall said, is both to celebrate Notre Dame and to support it.
“The Notre Dame family loves what Notre Dame students do in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in their clubs and in their residence halls,” he said. “This is the way that we can help all of these groups that want to raise money, raise money.”