One week ago today, William & Mary celebrated its 10th One Tribe One Day (OTOD X) and saw the powerful impact of its community coming together to support the people, places and programs at the university. In total, 11,376 alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends collectively gave more than $4 million to nearly 800 areas across William & Mary — making it the biggest and most successful giving day yet for total dollars raised on OTOD.

“Ten years ago, One Tribe One Day launched as an imaginative concept: a day for giving back and paying it forward. It is awe-inspiring to see how this tradition has evolved, uniting our community worldwide,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. 

Records were set in many areas, including total dollars raised in one day and the number of programs and initiatives supported. William & Mary saw a nearly seven-fold increase in the number of donors and about 27 times more dollars raised in just 10 years. Over the course of a decade, OTOD has inspired more than 52,000 donors to give a total of $24.2 million to William & Mary in support of 1,000+ areas across campus.

“This year was a huge triumph and a remarkable example of the power of community, the strength of philanthropists to lift up and support people, and the great fun we have when we work together toward something bigger than ourselves. We are very thankful for the outpouring of support — our people are thriving because of this extraordinary generosity,” said Matthew T. Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement.

“Since its inception in 2014, One Tribe One Day has grown exponentially, making it the biggest single-day engagement & philanthropic endeavor for the university,” added Lambert.

Amazing celebration

All across campus and around the globe, the W&M community found ways to connect with each other and the university. This year’s celebration started with a series of videos featuring Rowe spreading the word about OTOD.

On campus, six students won the “Battle of the Brains: Students vs. Deans” trivia competition emceed by Provost Peggy Agouris. The winning students each designated their $833 portion of the $5,000 prize to the area they care about at W&M, including the Swem Library, the National Pan-Hellenic Council Garden, the Pi Beta Phi sorority, the men’s rugby club and the art & art history department.

“We had a great time at trivia, getting to know the deans better while competing with them. The event was absolutely wonderful and definitely an OTOD highlight,” said Caroline Hertzberg ’24, a marketing major, who awarded her portion to the Women’s Lacrosse Excellence Fund. “This gift will be heavily appreciated by our team and will make a true difference for us.”

More than 1,000 students, faculty and staff joined the afternoon celebration at the OTOD Carnival in the Sunken Garden. A cornerstone of the day’s festivities, the carnival included free food, a mechanical “bull” shark, an enormous inflatable shark slide, foam machines, a DJ, the Griffin and more.

Many areas across campus also joined the fun. W&M Libraries hosted a party on the patio with free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, dogs and a student raffle. About 575 people attended and helped push the W&M Libraries to their highest OTOD donor participation ever. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at W&M reached its 500-donor goal and quadrupled its giving this year, thanks in part to a creative mystery photo campaign highlighting the top 10 reasons to give to VIMS.

Extraordinary community

Donors from all 50 states and eight countries took part in the effort. Gifts of $100 and below accounted for nearly $400,000 of the total raised, underscoring that gifts of all sizes collectively make a significant difference.

Many in the W&M community participated from afar. Over 90 people registered for the Focus on Careers: How W&M Is Expanding Resources for Students and Alumni virtual event, which aired during the lunch hour in Williamsburg.

During the day, over 400 posts on Twitter and Instagram used the #OneTribeOneDay hashtag. The Reves Center had more than a dozen international members give an OTOD shoutout in their native language, including folks from Iran, Indonesia, Brazil, China, Korea and Japan.

Over 20 in-person regional events kept the celebration going into the evening. More than 800 people registered to connect with fellow alumni, parents, family and friends in cities across the world, including more than 30 W&M supporters at the Tokyo event.

Unprecedented impact

This year also set a record in the number of giving challenges, with more than 20 ways for donors to increase the impact of their support and unlock over $1.2 million in additional funding for the university.

Along with the traditional milestone challenges that unlocked as overall donor goals were met, five 10:1 matches inspired two- and three-fold increases in participation from students and faculty and staff respectively. These matches also encouraged 572 first-time OTOD donors and 769 Young Guarde donors to participate in the day.

All 10 unit and area-specific giving challenges exceeded their goals, with W&M Athletics and International Initiatives leading the way reaching over 160% of their donor targets. A challenge sponsored by the Parent & Family Council unlocked $250,000 for the Parents Fund, with 2,640 parents making gifts, and pushed the Parents Fund to over $1 million in support this fiscal year.

The annual Gerdelman School & Unit Challenge, sponsored by Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76 and the late John Gerdelman ’75, L.H.D. ’19, was awarded in five categories. This year, $10,000 was presented to the law school for the most improved participation and W&M Libraries for the most creative outreach for the day. A $5,000 prize was given to international initiatives for the most total donors, W&M Athletics for the most new donors, Arts & Sciences for the most faculty and staff donors, Student Affairs for the most student donors and VIMS for honorable mention.

A special midday challenge sponsored by President Emeritus Taylor Reveley LL.D. ’18 and Helen Reveley, included a fun tribute to his starring role in OTOD videos from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Other challenges inspired over 450 Olde Guarde donors and 98% of all perfect OTOD donors to participate, and the Class of 1973 50th Reunion Challenge surpassed its goal by 50%.

Thank you!

“As our family rallies together, W&M grows stronger, especially on One Tribe One Day,” said Lambert. “Over the span of 10 years, we have achieved remarkable success, and we are sincerely inspired by and grateful to everyone who participated.”