NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University hosts its first ever Rutgers Giving Day, a 24-hr. online fundraising event that joins an international movement #GivingTuesday, on December 1.

Alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents and friends are encouraged to make an impact with tax-deductible contributions to the schools, units and programs of their choice across Rutgers.The goal is to raise $500,000 through 1,500 gifts or more, said Danielle Chirico, SAS ’12, assistant director of millennial philanthropy at Rutgers University Foundation.

The day is part of Giving Tuesday, an international campaign that began four years ago to encourage people to give back at a time when there is so much emphasis on spending around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.On Dec. 1, donors can make a gift through and direct their contributions to the schools or programs that matters to them – from athletics and academics to special causes and scholarship funds.

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“You can give to your favorite Rutgers cause,” Chirico said. “Whether it’s scholarships, academics, research, or student programs, you can support it by giving through Rutgers.”

Giving to Rutgers makes an impact not only on the schools and units throughout all three Universities, but also on the talent Rutgers is able to attract and thus foster an environment for meaningful research. Thanks to the donors who supported the Chancellor’s Fund, Assistant Professor Manny Jimenez has developed research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School that will be used to create a text message program helping to remind low-income and Latino families to engage in educational activities with their children.This will prevent children from facing struggles related to delays in language and literacy development.

Rutgers’ first Giving Day will be filled with old-fashioned collegiate competition. The university is putting up its own funds to encourage giving – $20,000 each for Rutgers University-Camden, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Rutgers University-Newark and Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences. The schools and programs at each location will vie for their share of the $20,000 award money, which will be distributed based on the number of gifts – not dollars – received at each university.

“We wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity to share in the funds,” Chirico said. “It’s based on the number of gifts because every gift matters.”

Throughout the day, supporters can track contributions made to each school on the website, which will display a real-time running tally.

Also, there will be fundraising challenges on social media, encouraging the Rutgers community to participate in the day’s activities no matter where they are with #RUGivingDay. For example, in the spirit of Rutgers’ founding year, there is the 1766 challenge, rewarding the 1,766th donor by giving an additional $500 to his favorite Rutgers cause. Or during a specific hour supporters can share a picture of their babies in Rutgers gear for a chance to win $500 toward the Rutgers schools or programs they care about most.”

“No matter the size of your gift, your support makes a difference,” said Chirico.