$8.6 million raised during Pirate Nation Gives

Alumni and friends answered the call to support East Carolina University during Pirate Nation Gives on March 20. Some even say it was the GOAT — the greatest of all time.

ECU students jumped into the Pirate Nation Gives competitions by sharing their PeeDee captures on social media. (Contributed Photos)

(ECU Photo by Rhett Butler)

The eighth annual day of giving event surpassed expectations and raised more than $8.6 million in support of university priorities, including student scholarships, health care initiatives, athletics, and faculty and program support. In the first minute of the day, 64 donors made gifts, setting off donations from on campus and across the country as more than 2,800 Pirates gave during the 24-hour fundraiser.

“Thank you, Pirate Nation, for being part of an outstanding day of giving at ECU. We asked for you to make an impact on the university and you rose to the challenge,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “Your gifts and enthusiastic support of ECU allow the university to boldly pursue our mission. Because of you, ECU students will have more access to a top-tier education and more opportunities to participate in innovative initiatives and experiential learning programs. ECU will continue to transform and uplift the region we call home.”

Champions answered the call by establishing numerous challenges for donors, which, when fulfilled, unlocked additional gifts supporting scholarships and programs across all disciplines. Across the board, Pirate Nation showed its support for scholarships, student athletes, health care and initiatives throughout the university.

Notable gifts this year include:

  • Chris Campbell, an industrial technology student, who honored his late mother by creating the Pamela A. Garriques Excellence in Logistics Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering and Technology.
  • Richard Cobb ’68, who established the Richard Cobb Sr. Freshmen Recruitment Scholarship Endowment in academic affairs and made a $25,000 gift to support the endowment.
  • Max Joyner Sr., who made a $15,000 gift to support the Marching Pirates.
  • David E. McCracken, who gave $15,000, and the Veteran Smiles Foundation, which made a $10,000 gift to support the ECU Veteran Patient Care Fund in the School of Dental Medicine. The combined gifts support the expansion of the Veteran Smiles program statewide.
  • Oak Foundation’s $50,000 donation to the University Priority Fund for Greatest Needs, which helps the university to respond to immediate and pressing financial needs across ECU.
  • Voyages of Discovery received broad support from donors, unlocking a $40,000 match for the community lecture series.

ECU donors could specify where and how they wanted their funds to be used, designating support to scholarships, research, innovative programs and more. Throughout the university new signs highlighted the influence of philanthropic efforts, allowing students, faculty and staff to see that many of the institution’s buildings, services, facilities and programs are made possible by donors.

Campus Spirit

Students, faculty and staff also participated in Pirate Nation Gives through a variety of on-campus initiatives aimed at building participation. A PeeDee squishmallow stuffed toy search and philanthropy honor cords for graduating Pirates added competitive spirit and boosted student involvement. Students accounted for 16% of the day’s donors. Hundreds visited tables at the campus student centers to share social media posts, snap up philanthropy cords, thank donors and support the cause.

Social card Pirate Nation GivesSophmore Christina Dowd was excited to capture a PeeDee squishmallow and earn $500 in bonus money for ECU’s STEPP program. Dowd said she was tracking the clues and found the PeeDee stuffed toy in a Main Campus Student Center meeting room.
STEPP Director Adam Denny said it is fantastic having students in the program participating in Pirate Nation Gives.

“It shows their interest in giving back to the program and, equally important, to the institution,” Denny said. “STEPP is one of the few academic support programs nationwide that provides access to resources to individuals with learning disabilities at no additional cost beyond tuition, which means every gift matters. For current students and the sustainability of our program, we are incredibly grateful for any support to our mission.”

Women’s basketball, club sports, disability support services, the School of Communication, the Office of Global Affairs, Integrated Coastal Studies Programs and the School of Theatre and Dance all earned bonus money from the PeeDee squishmallow search.

Fundraising Creativity

The Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business wooed potential donors by bringing baby goats to campus. (Photo by Steven Mantilla)

The Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business wooed potential donors by bringing baby goats to campus. (Photo by Steven Mantilla)

Across all of ECU’s colleges, schools and campuses, Pirate Nation Gives advocates found creative ways to boost interest in their funds.
The Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business wooed potential donors by bringing baby goats to campus. Students, faculty and staff who visited the Arthur School got to pet the pygmy goats.

Why goats? Dr. Linda Quick, assistant dean of the Arthur School, said it was because the Arthur School strives to be the GOAT when it comes to graduate education in eastern North Carolina.

“We asked all who stopped by to support the Arthur School by participating in Pirate Nation Gives. Doing so will ensure that we are well on our way to becoming the GOAT,” Quick said.

Funds raised by the Arthur School during Pirate Nation Gives will support student travel, scholarships, innovative programming for students, connections with industry leaders and additional opportunities for military affiliated students, among other initiatives.

Bonus leaders

Throughout Wednesday, leaderboards on the Pirate Nation Gives (PNG) website tracked support for areas of campus and encouraged giving with a competitive spirit. Numerous social media challenges gave participants the opportunity to win bonus money for their favorite ECU area or fund.
Serious competition began at midnight as donors vied to make the event’s first website gift. It was down to the millisecond to determine that two students, Nicole Barefoot and Anna Stone, tied in the timing of their gifts supporting the Club Sports Priority Fund – in honor of dance. They captured first place and $3,000 for the fund. Alumnus Eric Rivenbark captured second place and selected the ECU Alumni Association Priority Fund to earn $1,000 in bonus money.

Several club sports participants held watch parties to try and be the first to donate and win those bonus prizes. The effort to focus on the Club Sports Priority Fund grew from conversations within Campus Recreation & Wellness.“We started talking about PNG the first day I was hired in my current position. We were strategic on creating a united front and empowering our students and club sports to reconnect with alumni and build new relationships with donors, family and friends,” said Justin Waters, senior assistant director of sport programs. “Helping the students understand the ‘why’ helped the ‘how.’”

Waters said they had an “all for one, one for all” approach and had all 26 club sports come together to help raise scholarship dollars for the priority fund. The fund helps students offset costs they may accrue while playing a club sport at ECU. These dollars tear down barriers in order to help students keep chasing their passions, Waters said.

“Because of this day and all the philanthropy, we are able to provide financial relief for students during a time in our society where attending and staying enrolled in college is more costly than ever,” Waters said. “I also believe that it’s important that our students recognize that we are trying to be the best stewards of their interest and advocating for them during this day is a great way to build trust.”Night owls and watch parties paid off on the final gift competition of the day. The Recreation Sciences Alumni Society Fund captured first place and $3,000 thanks to a watchful eye on the clock from faculty member Edwin Gomez. Club Sports in honor of women’s volleyball was the runner-up fund with a gift from parent Emily Davis and will receive $1,000.For more information about the many ways to give to ECU, visit ECU University Advancement.

Top 10 areas by number of donors

AREADonorsTotal Raised
Student Affairs*486$93,881
College of Business*260$173,133
Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences254$55,819
College of Education 185$57,701
Honors College180$72,862
College of Health and Human Performance178$40,797
Alumni Association 132$23,654
College of Allied Health Sciences89$8,249
College of Fine Arts and Communication82$21,194
School of Dental Medicine64$30,190
*Bonus money winners