Cal Athletics tops charts, raises $4.5M from UC Berkeley Big Give contest

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Within 24 hours, Cal Athletics took the lead in a campuswide fundraising contest, raising more than $4.5 million as a part of the Big Give campaign and inching toward closing up a $440 million deficit from the California Memorial Stadium renovation and the Simpson Student-Athlete High Performance Center.

Trailing closely behind Cal Athletics, the UC Berkeley Library generated $3,228,344, the Haas School of Business raised $2,808,701, and the College of Letters and Science received $2,582,448.  

The fundraiser generated more than $22,453,120 in total from 8,646 gifts from Wednesday night to Thursday night. The contest involved various UC Berkeley departments, student groups and associations, and it awarded additional prizes to groups that raised the most money.

Big Slice, the first of four contests, allocated $100,000 among UC Berkeley schools and programs based on how much each entity raised. Cal Athletics won this contest and received an additional prize of $20,311 for raising $4,560,557.

The Big Give campaign comes several months after UC Berkeley released its revenue-driven 2017-18 budget in August, which highlighted more than $20 million in cuts to academic, research and administrative expenses.

As a part of these cuts, UC Berkeley cut about $3.6 million from the campus’s academic division, which includes the College of Letters and Science, Haas School of Business, College of Engineering, UC Berkeley School of Law and other academic schools across campus.

Cuts from Cal Athletics were a part of approximately $13 million in campus administrative division cuts, which also included cuts from Cal Performances, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, the campus Division of Equity and Inclusion and the campus Division of Student Affairs.

In addition to Big Slice, there were three other contests as a part of the fundraiser: Big Bang, Big Countdown and Go Big for Student Groups.

Big Bang designated $70,000 to the top 10 schools and programs with the greatest participation — the School of Optometry won this contest and received a $15,000 prize. For mini-contests and social media challenges, Big Countdown distributed $30,000 among various student groups and campus programs.

Finally, Go Big for Student Groups allocated $16,000 among the 10 student groups that received the most gifts. Among these student groups, Delta Phi Epsilon, a coed professional foreign service fraternity, won first place, receiving a $5,000 prize. CalSol, a UC Berkeley solar vehicle team, won second place and received $3,000.

The other eight student groups, including the Student Advocate’s Office and the Regents’ and Chancellors’ Scholars Association, received $1,000 each.

The fundraising contest follows a model presented by the projected 2018 fiscal year budget that emphasizes revenue generation, as the campus planned to raise about $27.6 million largely through private gifts and donations.

Malini Ramaiyer is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @malinisramaiyer.