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BigOrangeGiveUT’s first Big Orange Give—a 125-hour online giving campaign—far exceeded its goals for fundraising and expanding its network of Big Orange donors.

Held during homecoming week, the campaign doubled the $125,000 goal, raising $250,105 from more than 1,640 donors from all fifty states and abroad.

Noteworthy alumni and leaders like Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, Professor Emeritus Bill Bass, alumnus and financial expert Dave Ramsey, and alumna and Lady Vol Basketball Coach Holly Warlick led the charge through special video messages and challenge gifts during the campaign. Big Orange Give relied primarily on e-mail and social media to reach potential donors.

“Our Volunteer family went above and beyond in coming together to help us surpass our goal and highlight the innovative programs and research happening on our campus every day,” Cheek said. “Through targeted giving and programs such as Impact Big Ideas, our donors are able to have an immediate effect on the scholarship of our students.”

Donors were able to direct their gifts toward specific colleges or departments, or even specific student projects through the Impact Big Ideas program, a crowd-funding effort that allows individuals to make donations toward selected student projects in need of funding.

The original goal of the campaign was to raise $125,000 in 125 hours. The campaign kicked off at 4:00 p.m. Monday, November 4. Within forty-eight hours the goal was raised to $175,000 as campaign organizers saw how quickly funds were coming in. The campaign concluded at 9:00 p.m. Saturday.

“It was a successful week, but also a fun and exciting one. So many Volunteers were involved and made the difference by sharing their own stories about why they support the university,” said Scott Rabenold, vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs.

Rabenold said Big Orange Give was designed to emphasize that every dollar makes a difference and helps to build a stronger future for UT. Eighty percent of the gifts received during Big Orange Give were less than $100, and 87 percent of all gifts came from UT alumni.

During the fiscal year 2013, gifts of less than $100 brought in more than $940,000 to benefit campus programs.

A collection of the videos, as well as a photo gallery of donors sharing why they give, can be found on the Big Orange Give website.

Even though the Big Orange Give is over, alumni and friends of the university can always contribute online.

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304,

Lance Taylor (865-974-8949,