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The Volunteer community rallied around the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for the 10th year in a row during Big Orange Give, UT’s annual day of giving, held Nov. 10. More than 10,500 gifts were contributed by Volunteers from around the world. Many of the gifts received matching dollars from generous donors who contributed funds to double the impact.

“Every year, I am impressed with the way our community shows up to support the areas of campus that hold the most meaning to them,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Whether you are supporting a college, a program, a scholarship fund or a campus organization, the willingness of Volunteers to step forward and give back is always inspiring. Thank you to everyone who has supported UT this year and in years past. Your contributions are a big part of the success we see across the university.”

One of the top three areas boosted this year was the Student Emergency Fund, which provides life-changing assistance to UT students in need. Many work hard to put themselves through school, and during uncertain times they are able to receive help with critical needs such as utilities, minor medical expenses and basic technology. During the fall semester $33,000 was awarded to 100 students, and Big Orange Give donors replenished the fund with $30,000 in gifts.

“The Student Emergency Fund assisted my husband, five children and me while my part-time job was furloughed,” said senior Jennifer Ware. “The money helped us pay for household expenses like food and utilities. I am so grateful to be a Vol!”

The fund has played a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic and has become an ongoing program of support. Other top-funded programs include 91.9 WUOT FM and the Band Scholarship Fund.

Since 2013, more than 58,000 donations from individuals — many of whom make commitments year after year to multiple areas of campus — have resulted in more than $16 million raised.

“The extraordinary growth of Big Orange Give over the years is an accomplishment shared by all Vols,” said Chip Bryant, vice chancellor for advancement. “What started with 1,630 donors years ago today is an order of magnitude larger, and that goes to show what this community is capable of building through generosity, commitment and passion.”

According to Lauren Herbstritt, director of advancement for annual giving, Big Orange Give has been an enduring community effort that demonstrates how gifts of any size, to any area of campus, move the university forward in a significant way.

“The passion of an expansive network of supporters for the university directly impacts the future for this next generation of Volunteers,” said Herbstritt. “The growth of Big Orange Give shows what is possible when a group of committed individuals comes together for a cause. And we’re not stopping with the momentum that has been generated but expressing our gratitude toward the incredible generosity Vols have shown and looking forward to the next decade with an even more impactful future for Big Orange Give.”


Cindi King (865-974-0937,

Gerhard Schneibel (865-974-9299,