At 6:42 p.m. Sunday, the sixth annual Notre Dame Day commenced, kicking off a 29-hour broadcast and a host of events — including performances from “Hamilton” cast members, a scavenger hunt and more. The day of giving allows for Notre Dame community members to financially contribute to almost every aspect of student life at the University through a voting-based donation system.
“Notre Dame Day is a global celebration of all things Notre Dame,” Jim Small, associate vice president for development, said in an email. “It’s a day when the Notre Dame community comes together around the world to tell stories, to be entertained and to raise money for more than 900 organizations on campus.”
Notre Dame Day donations allow a person to make an initial contribution of a minimum of $10, which will earn them five votes to one of over 900 organizations participating in the fundraising day. Donors can allocate all five votes to the group they gave to originally, or they can spread their votes among several different organizations. For any subsequent gifts, a person will receive one vote. The votes will be tallied at the end of the day, and groups will receive a percentage of a $1.2 million challenge fund proportional to their percentage of the votes.
“The reason we’ve devised it that way is to try to create more equity with the votes, [as] opposed to just having a person who makes one large donation and then all of a sudden are getting all these votes,” Matt Gelchion, director of volunteer leadership and participation, said. “For the first gift, no matter if someone makes a $10 gift or a $100 gift, it’s going to be five votes.”
Lou Nanni, vice president for University relations, emphasized the importance of Notre Dame Day, specifically in raising money for student organizations.
“With the matching money that we have — $1.2 million this year — we are able to drive a lot of resources to especially Notre Dame student groups and causes,” Nanni said. “I think we’re at a point right now where Notre Dame Day is contributing roughly half of the funding for all the student groups and organizations.”
Nanni added that even though some feel their contributions are not significant, even the smallest of donations can make a big difference for Notre Dame students.
“Last year, in just gifts of under $200, we were able to fully scholarship 37 students,” he said. “Thirty-seven students got full rides to Notre Dame just with gifts under $200.”
Notre Dame Day’s 29-hour broadcast will include Notre Dame community members sharing their stories, in addition to other interviews, performances from both campus and professional artists and streaming of live events.
“We were asked nearly seven years ago now, ‘How would Notre Dame do a day of giving?’” Small said. “Our response was to create a storytelling platform unlike any other in higher education — and for that matter, anywhere else in the world. That’s our big distinction — no one is telling stories and producing this much [live] content over a 29 hour period anywhere on the globe.”
There will be a host of events happening concurrently during the broadcast. These include a live concert with members of the cast of “Hamilton,” Chloe Agnew — formerly of Celtic Woman — Notre Dame’s Gold and Blue Company, Fighting Irish 40 — a 40 yard dash competition — and a scavenger hunt with a cash prize, among more events.
Gelchion said the main purpose of Notre Dame Day is to support student groups, but also to help Notre Dame alumni connect to their alma mater.
“At its core, it’s about enhancing the Notre Dame student experience through this day,” Gelchion said. “That’s first and foremost, the ability to help clubs or other student organizations be able to help reach their goals. The other part of it is, this is a way to reconnect people to Notre Dame and what they love most at this place. Some people aren’t able to come back to campus every year. Notre Dame Day offers them an opportunity to reconnect with the parts that were most meaningful to their experience, whether it’s hearing from their dorm, or it’s from the club they were a member of all four years, it’s nice for them to be back in touch with them.”