Giving Blueday marks 10 years of supporting U-M causes


For loyal Giving Blueday donor Heather Dichter, the University of Michigan’s annual day of giving is a chance to support areas of the university that have meant the most to her education and career. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also just fun.

“I like the excitement and seeing the responses on social media,” said Dichter, a U-M alumna. “Even though I know I’m one of thousands of alumni and friends that donate on that day, the acknowledgment makes it fun, and I like being part of it.”

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When the university celebrates 10 years of Giving Blueday on March 13, Dichter will again join thousands of supporters around the world — like she’s done each year since it began — and make a gift to U-M.

Launched in 2014, Giving Blueday has received more than 100,000 donations totaling more than $48 million. Details for this year, including causes and projects, how to give, ways to help, and updates throughout the day, are available online.

“It’s been absolutely inspiring to see how this special day has grown over the last decade, and I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years hold,” said Tom Baird, vice president for development.

This video looks Giving Blueday at its 10-year mark.

Emphasizing the impact of gifts of all sizes, Giving Blueday has been an entry point for new donors looking to make a difference at U-M and who come back every year. Another big draw are student organizations, many of which depend on the funding to help cover the costs of projects, supplies and competitions.

Alumna Claire Bartosic first participated as a student and member of the Women’s Club Water Polo team, which she has continued to support since 2014.

“It’s important to me to help support and maintain the student organization that made such an impact on me and my time at Michigan,” Bartosic said.

Alumna Julie Sarne also learned about Giving Blueday as a student.

“When I first learned about a new, coordinated day to bring Michigan supporters together, I was all in,” Sarne said. “I didn’t have much to give, but I knew starting to give back and establishing a habit of paying it forward were important.

“Giving Blueday is my annual reminder to support scholarships and programs that make Michigan more accessible and impactful.”

Dichter received funding from LSA’s Department of History and the Honors College as an undergraduate, and from the Bentley Historical Library to conduct research for a book as an alumna. Today, as a professor in England, she makes a point of giving to all three each year.

“It really is about giving back and supporting those organizations that supported me,” she said. “I like the opportunity to help those units increase their fundraising, and I hope that other students get the same great opportunities that I had.”

Dichter also is a fan of Giving Blueday’s many hourly and daylong challenges, which help donations go further. This year’s Giving Blueday offers 19 such challenges, with more than $150,000 in additional funding available.

“Every little bit counts and helps support the university,” she said. “If everyone gives $5, that really adds up. In many ways, those smaller donations can make a real difference if it is a specific project that a unit is looking to fund.”


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