Two chapman students in face masks walking through campus.
Chapman’s Giving Day 2021 produced record-breaking results, benefiting the Chapman Fund’s work assisting students with essential needs and financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic. These donations are vital as the campus returns to in-person instruction.

Chapman University’s Giving Day 2021 was a Record-Breaking Community Event Nearly $1.2 million pours in during the annual campaign.

In a day of heart-felt giving, including some late-night magic from a significant matching gift, the Chapman community united around Giving Day 2021 on April 27, raising nearly $1.2 million.

The response to the university’s annual appeal exceeded last year’s Chapman University Giving Day record by more than $70,000, included nearly 1,000 participants and underscored the entire Chapman Family’s spirit of confidence as the university reopens the campus to students and plans for the future.

“We were excited to see this year’s results top the extraordinary level of support shown during our 2020 event. Donor support throughout the pandemic has been so strong and this generosity continued through Giving Day. It reminds us how deeply caring the Chapman Family is and that they are our greatest strength,” said Deanna Blanchet ’12 (MBA ’19), assistant director of the Chapman Fund.

Such a response builds on the energy driving the university’s future, said Chapman President Daniele Struppa.

“I am so grateful for the outpouring of generosity in support of Giving Day. These gifts drive the rising momentum at our university, an energy that promises a stronger tomorrow for our students now and in the future,” Struppa said. “With such inspired giving, I truly believe we will emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

Support for Student Scholarships

Funds raised on Giving Day go to the Chapman Fund, a foundational resource for scholarships, programs across the university, student activities, faculty development, research centers and more. This year, each gift was especially impactful, with so many students and families feeling financial challenges as a result of the pandemic.

In the early days of the pandemic, more than 400 students received urgently needed support through the fund, allowing them to offset hardships created by the pandemic, pay for unexpected travel home and continue working toward graduation day. Even as the campus closed, student workers who depend on their jobs to help cover tuition continued to be paid.

Meanwhile, the fund also benefits the long-term goals of supporting faculty excellence through research and creative activities, contributing to an upward trajectory in research funding that has grown two and one-half times in the last four years.

The fund also supported health and wellness needs rising out of the pandemic, from dining hall modifications and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, to COVID-19 testing and expanded mental health services. 

“Every one of these gifts serves our students in so many ways, from scholarships essential to many families feeling the impact of the pandemic, to support for the programs, facilities and faculty that make the Chapman experience one of distinction. When the Chapman community comes together, there is no limit to what it can accomplish,” said Sheryl Bourgeois, executive vice president and chief advancement officer.

Donations poured in throughout the day, highlighted by several Facebook Live events. Featured guests included professors from Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences discussing how interdisciplinary minors enrich undergraduate studies, a conversation about hiring and mentoring students and alumni with career and professional development partners, and a presentation about Chapman’s new class of 2025 and changing student profile with Mike Pelly, vice president and dean of enrollment, and Marcela Mejia-Martinez, assistant vice president of admission.

‘Midnight Oil’ Fuels Giving Day

Enthusiasm surged in the evening when an anonymous donor promised to match every donation with an additional $500, maxing out the $100,00 challenge grant. Forty participants who gave early in the day made second gifts to support the match, said Deanna Blanchet,’12 (MBA ’19), assistant director of the Chapman Fund.

“We had gifts coming in consistently through midnight,” Blanchet said.

Making a Difference for Students

For students like first year vocal performance major Payton McKinnis ’24 Giving Day success was personal. Despite the pandemic, McKinnis said her first year at Chapman was a success thanks to faculty in the College of Performing Arts and opportunities to sing in virtual productions with Opera Chapman and Chapman University Singers.

“I would not have been able to have this experience without scholarship support. Chapman would be out of reach for my family and me. The pandemic has been especially hard on us, since my father lost his job during shut-down and my family is starting the process of selling our home to be able to finance both my and my younger sister’s education,” she said. “However, with your support, I am able to stay optimistic about continuing to study my passion here at Chapman.”


Missed Out?

Even if you missed the day, you can still participate in the momentum. Donations may be made online and will count toward the Giving Day total.

Dawn Bonker