Yesterday, Central Florida, the state, and nation heard Knight Nation bounce, stomp, splash and cheer for everything we love about UCF. Today, we express overwhelming appreciation and gratitude to all who joined the impactful 24-hour celebration.

For UCF Day of Giving 2023, Knights raised more than $6.8 million — an 84% increase from last year, and the most in university history. UCF Day of Giving contributions not only highlight Black & Gold pride — they help support our local community, fund life-changing scholarships, power championship athletics, build 21st century learning facilities, fuel innovative research and enhance the university’s global reputation.

Continue to help UCF unleash the potential of our Knights by making a gift here.

“The passion and support demonstrated for UCF continues to inspire us,” says UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright. “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends on Day of Giving. With their help, we will continue to drive excellence, amplify student success, and enrich lives through research and creative works as we build the University for the Future together.”

A Celebration of the Black & Gold Community

Donors around the world rallied together for the community-driven effort — supporting the university and its many areas that aim to solve the world’s most significant challenges through 9,551 gifts. These contributions were made across all 50 U.S. states, as well as Australia, Canada, Colombia, Panama, Philippines, Serbia, South Korea and Trinidad and Tobago.

“We are truly grateful to everyone who joined us in celebration of Knight Nation on Day of Giving,” says Rodney Grabowski, senior vice president for Advancement and Partnerships and CEO of the UCF Foundation. “As the university for the future, we aspire to be among the most impactful universities in the country — and philanthropic support is crucial in helping us reach our goals. Yesterday’s results showed us that Black & Gold pride is stronger than ever, as a record-number of donors rallied together to help us unleash potential.”

“I personally love Day of Giving because I love being able to give back to the school that has given so much to me,” says Brooke Johnson, who is majoring in kinesiology and health sciences. “I’ve [donated] to 4EVER KNIGHTS, which is an organization that I’m a part of and has given me so many opportunities on campus to get to know new people, make new friends and even new family that I can keep when I become an alum.”

Over 30 virtual challenges kept UCF Day of Giving participants engaged in friendly competition throughout the day. Beginning with the First Gift of the Day Challenge at midnight, Knights everywhere got their game faces on to compete to win bonus funds to help their favorite area of support succeed. Leaderboard displays on the UCF Day of Giving website were viewed thousands of times as colleges and units participated in their own challenges. The top colleges and units were Athletics, the College of Arts and Humanities, and the Student Success and Well-Being Fund.

Supporting Student-Athletes and a Smooth Transition to the Big 12

As momentum builds ahead of UCF Athletics’ much-anticipated entrance into the Big 12 Conference on July 1, overwhelming support of the university’s sports programs and student-athletes was displayed with nearly $1.5 million donated to the organization, which also received $20,000 in bonus funds through challenges. Among the generous donors are Chip and Zenaida Carling, who gave a significant gift. UCF Day of Giving gifts will aid in a seamless transition into the elite athletic conference and accelerate UCF Athletics’ Mission XII — an initiative to provide championship-caliber services to support student-athletes’ careers and to position the university to win conferences and national championships.

“We are grateful to the Carlings for empowering our football student-athletes to succeed on the field and in the classroom,” says Mark Wright, deputy Athletics director and associate vice president, ChargeOn Fund “Support like theirs is critical in providing resources and scholarships as we transition to the Big 12 Conference. Thank you to the Carling family for investing in UCF Athletics.”

Critical Aid to Help Address the Nursing Shortage

This year’s Day of Giving saw more than 175 funds receiving gifts throughout the day. Donors were able to support the areas that mean the most to them — from academic programs to student support resources. Among these areas is the College of Nursing, which received 420 gifts.

About 40% of the gifts made to the College of Nursing fund support the future College of Nursing building, which will help UCF graduate over 50% more nurses to help alleviate the state and national nursing shortage. Among these gifts was a $100,000 contribution from VNA Foundation, which supports community organizations that benefit home healthcare services and care for the elderly.

About 40% of the gifts made to the College of Nursing fund support the future College of Nursing building, which will help UCF graduate over 50% more nurses to help alleviate the state and national nursing shortage.

“Knight nurses are needed now more than ever. We are incredibly thankful for the support we received [on UCF Day of Giving 2023], which will help our students succeed in their studies and graduate to make a difference on the health of our communities,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “These gifts are also critically important to help us unleash our potential — to address the nursing shortage and solve healthcare’s greatest challenges — with the new building at the Academic Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona.”

Some College of Nursing gifts will also support the Joyce DeGennaro Memorial Endowed Scholarship. The fund honors the legacy of alumna and faculty member, Joyce DeGennaro ’03 ’09BSN ’13MS, who died from breast cancer in 2020 and leaves a lasting impact on the lives of nursing students, faculty and all who knew her. Gifts made to the scholarship will support UCF’s undergraduate nursing students like Alexis Wade, who was the first recipient of the scholarship, which more than 140 people donated to during Day of Giving 2022.

“[As the first recipient of the Joyce DeGennaro Memorial Endowed Scholarship] it means that the College of Nursing community and the DeGennaro family have faith in me that I will be successful in being a future nurse, and that I will represent Mrs. D’s name well,” Wade says. “It has enabled me to be truly involved because I don’t have to have the stress of worrying about working enough hours to be able to help pay for school … [and] I can truly be involved [in my courses].”

The senior nursing student — born premature at just 26 weeks and now living with a blood disorder called Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) — has beaten the odds which inspires her pursuit of a career as a neonatal nurse after graduation. Wade says she’s immensely grateful to UCF Day of Giving donors who “truly enable students to be involved and to become successful because they have the opportunity to pursue their passions and areas that they might not have thought of otherwise.”

UCF Day of Giving lasts one day, but your contributions made will last a lifetime. No matter the amount, areas supported or number of gifts — by investing in our impact, you empower every Knight to pursue their passions, chase their dreams and help make the world a better place. Thank you again, Knight Nation, for celebrating all that UCF has accomplished.

Continue to help UCF unleash the potential of our Knights by making a gift here.