10th annual Captain’s Challenge fundraiser set for April 3

The 10th annual Captain’s Challenge will provide those who support UT Martin an opportunity to make a gift to strengthen its mission.

The event is named for the university’s mascot, Captain Skyhawk, and will be held all day Wednesday, April 3.

Matt Borden, the associate director of annual giving, said the Captain’s Challenge is the university’s one day of giving, a set-the-date style of fundraising.

“When Captain’s Challenge first started, the goal was $50,000, and that was a week-long period,” he said. “By the time the week passed, they had more than doubled the goal, reaching $125,000.

“Two years ago, we raised around $477,000, and last year was a little over 1,600 gifts and about $430,000.”

Borden said the goal for this year’s challenge is 1,200 unique donors (a donor can give more than one gift) with sights set on reaching $500,000.

He added that there is more than $180,000 in matching dollars to help reach that goal.

“Every gift is matched through our generous matching donors of up to $300, as long as the matching funds are still there,” he said. “So, a $300 gift to, say, the College of Business and Global Affairs becomes a $600 gift. That goes through the entire 24-hour period as long as those matches are available.”

People can make a gift during the Captain’s Challenge by going to challenge.utm.edu any time during April 3 – from midnight to midnight – and follow the directions.

“Each college will have a unique landing page, as well as athletics,” Borden said. “The Black Alumni Council has a special match this year courtesy of Kim Seymour(’92). Other areas that will be visibly present are The Paul Meek Library as well as Access and Engagement. All funds are available to make a gift via the search bar.”

Seymour is a UT Martin alumna who graduated in 1992 and found success as a human resources official with Weight Watchers International, American Express and, most recently, Etsy Inc. She was the commencement speaker at UT Martin’s fall commencement last December.

Borden said that last year, there were 28 gifts exceeding $10,000 apiece.

“Those gifts were spread all across campus, but a high volume went into various College of Agriculture accounts.” The bigger gifts are usually found within the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (CAAS), due in large part to that college having a large matching pool.

“Tosh Farms generously provides $50,000 for CAAS, and they’ve done that the past few years. With that, the CAAS match is $2,500 instead of $300, so that helps drive larger gifts. Any excess of that $50,000 goes into the general fund, and (CAAS) Dean (Todd) Winters, at his discretion, can use it accordingly.”

Tosh Farms is a family-owned business located in Henry, Tennessee. The business consists of three separate enterprises working together in a synergistic fashion. Tosh Farms is a general partnership and the crop production company, Tosh Pork GP, is its swine production company, and Bacon By Gosh Inc. is its transportation company.

Borden added that athletics is another target of fundraising gifts, adding that each college’s dean provides funds each year that they would like to highlight. Those funds can be found on each college’s landing page.

UT Martin will be the first University of Tennessee System campus to use an online platform called GiveCampus to help with this year’s Captain’s Challenge.

“Something new that we can do with GiveCampus is we can have on-the-spot challenges (where donors can challenge friends or coworkers),” Borden said. “Another cool feature is the heat tracking map of the United States. Everyone can see in real time where the gifts are coming from.”

Those who want to make a gift to UT Martin outside of the Captain’s Challenge can go to giving.utm.edu and follow the directions. Payments may be made through Venmo, PayPal, ApplePay or GooglePay. More traditional gifts may be made through the UTM Office of Alumni Relations or Advancement Services. For information, call 731-881-7610 or email alumni@utm.edu.

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