Giving Tuesday a Success at New Mexico Highlands University 

December 9, 2021

Giving Tuesday, which typically brings in 10 percent of Highlands University’s annual fundraising, brought in $198,403 this year.  

According to Theresa Law, the university began participating in Giving Tuesday in 2016, and although they did not surpass their 2019 record of $300,000, she is pleased by the amount Highlands brought in during a pandemic year.  

Law said each Giving Tuesday, Highlands University selects three different funds to highlight. This year, the three funds included the Vatos Fund, which supports the three-time national champion rugby team; the Friends of Art Fund, which benefits the university’s art collection, and the Dean Ray Farmer Student Emergency Fund.  

“The Dean Ray Farmer Student Emergency Fund provides emergency assistance for living expenses when students have an unforeseen financial hardship,” said Law. “We gave out more than $50,000 in emergency assistance from the Foundation and the Student Life emergency funds last year. That need is ongoing—it hasn’t gone away, just like COVID hasn’t gone away. So, it can make a big difference.” 

Funds featured on Giving Tuesday are selected for various reasons, including need and incentives. Law said a donor was interested in making a significant donation to the Friends of Art Fund, and the Vatos, who are trying to rebound from pandemic setbacks, had a donor who offered a dollar-for-dollar match up to $5,000 for Vatos donations.  

“We feature a set of funds every year, but donors can give to any fund they like on Giving Tuesday,” said Law. “We actually encourage unrestricted donations so that the donation can go to the areas of greatest need.”  

According to Law, 60 percent of donors tend to be alumni and 40 percent are community members. She said that although they didn’t match their all-time best this year, Highlands did manage to raise more money this year than last. Law attributes the annual success of Giving Tuesday to the alumni board.  

“Our alumni board really got behind Giving Tuesday, just in terms of their own giving because they tend to make their own gifts on Giving Tuesday every year,” said Law. “And then they really spread the word on their social media and email and everything else to help us raise money.”  

Law said although Giving Tuesday has become a big day for all organizations engaged in fundraising, donations to smaller organizations remain vital.  

“Giving to smaller organizations like Highlands is very important,” said Law. “It can be a huge chunk of that organization’s annual revenue.”  

Both Law and director of alumni relations & annual giving, Juli Salman, said they were grateful for the support of alumni and community members. 

“We are super excited about the response by Highlands’ supporters on Giving Tuesday,” said Salman.