How the inaugural Day For Oxy shattered all expectations—and established "a new tradition for the College"

When planning for Occidental’s Day of Giving began last summer following the public launch of The Oxy Campaign For Good, it was designed to be a largely virtual experience to generate community spirit and philanthropic support. Little did anyone know what the coming year would bring.

Following the spread of COVID-19, Oxy’s fund­raising and marketing teams quickly pivoted to a Day For Oxy, with a goal of raising 420 gifts on April 20—Founders Day—to support the College’s immediate needs, including technology equipment, academics, and financial aid. A Day For Oxy Athletics campaign, held concurrently, set out to raise 100 gifts to directly support the sport of the donor’s choosing.

When all the counting was done, Day For Oxy generated 2,297 gifts for a total of $1.34 million, including 879 gifts totaling $187,197 to enhance the student-athlete experience. “It has been a deeply moving 36 hours, to say the least,” Charlie Cardillo, Oxy’s vice president of institutional advancement, said on a video call to the campus community on April 21. President Jonathan Veitch added, “This is an extraordinary result by any measure.”

Essential to the day’s success were over 20 matching gift challenges fueled by members of the College community. Collectively, they raised $500,000 for the Oxy Fund.

But much of the enthusiasm for the 36-hour campaign can be attributed to Oxy’s student-athletes and TeleFund callers, whose creative videos, posted to social media with the #dayforoxy hashtag, kept the momentum going. 

Shortly after the College closed the books on the first Day For Oxy, Cardillo received word of “a very generous gift, motivated by all that went on over the last 36 hours,” to meet the anticipated increase in financial aid for our students. “We have established a new tradition for the College,” he says, a bit overwhelmed. “How often can we say that?”

1. Caleb Reyes ’22, a catcher for Oxy baseball. 2. Emerson Thomas-Gregory ’23 asked for support to ensure that Oxy “continues to thrive” after the pandemic has passed. 3. Clarissa Kiyomura ’22, a point guard for women’s basketball.
4. Oxy quarterback Bryan Scott ’17 challenged the 2010-20 “Foxhole Era of Tigers” to support the 2020 football team.
5. Katie Wood ’20, a midfielder for women’s soccer.

Top 10 States in Total Gifts:
1. California
(1,350 gifts)
2. Washington (123)
3. New York (90)
4. Oregon (64)
5. Colorado (46)
6. Texas (45)
7. Arizona (42)
8. Massachusetts (40)
9. Illinois (38).
10 (tie). Connecticut and Virginia (28).