More than $1.6 million raised in annual fundraising campaign


Colette Gannon, Reporter (She/Her)

Students, faculty, staff and alumni came together in support of the fourth annual One Day for STATE celebration, a 24-hour campaign with the goal to raise money in support of academic colleges, student organizations and athletics teams.

According to the South Dakota State University Foundation, $1,617,648 was raised, surpassing the $1.3 million raised last year, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“One Day for STATE was a big success this year,” Matilyn Kerr, a One Day for STATE social ambassador, said. “It raised the most money ever, and the highest total donor amount over the four years of the event.”

Kerr is among one of the 537 social ambassadors for the event. According to the SD State Foundation, social ambassadors help to amplify the impact of the event by sharing related social media content. Ambassadors are even given the opportunity to see how much of a difference their social content is making via data collected by the SD State Foundation.

Donations flooded in from all around the world, receiving donations from all 50 states and 19 countries. South Dakota alone brought in nearly $1.1 million. In total, 5,656 gifts were donated, with 88 percent of those donations made online.

Throughout the event, online viewers were also given the opportunity to see the campaign’s progress in real-time via the One Day for STATE website. Numerous challenges were set with goals to raise a certain amount of money for various areas of the university that website visitors could track.

Challenges encouraged visitors to donate, unlocking contributions from benefactors, like the “Deb Nelson Overall EHS Challenge,” which stated that “Deb Nelson will generously give $50,000 when we meet all of our challenges or when the College of Education and Human Sciences reaches 250 donors.”

According to the SDSU Foundation, One Day for STATE enhances the opportunities available at SDSU.

“One Day for STATE gives us an opportunity to raise money that supports excellence in our programs,” Jill Thorngren, dean of education and human sciences who played a role in promoting the college’s priorities surrounding the event, said. “Each college or program focuses on different things, but One Day for STATE helps us raise money for things that we might not ordinarily be able to do.”

Thorngren also stated that COVID-19 had virtually no impact on the success of the event.

“Because One Day for STATE is primarily focused on social media outreach, COVID-19 didn’t slow it down too much – in fact, we had more donors and raised more dollars than last year,” she said.

Kerr added that some changes were made for the event to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

“The ethos of the event didn’t change. However, some of the in-person components did,” she said. Adaptations to this year’s situation included converting the Yellow and Blue Block party to a virtual version via Facebook Live and streaming the SDSU Pride performance.

Kerr spoke to the importance of the event as an SDSU tradition and what it means for students, staff and the community.

“Truly One Day for STATE is so much more than a day of giving event,” Kerr said. “It’s a celebration of showing admiration and respect for what SDSU can provide … what it can do for you and your life.”