On Nov. 28 — Giving Tuesday, the International Day of Philanthropy —  Brandeis #MadeItGrand. By Wednesday morning, the University had raised $391,045.

According to Brandeis’ Giving Tuesday website, if the University “made it grand” by securing gifts from 1,000 donors, a $141,000 challenge gift presented by a small group of alumni and friends of Brandeis would be unlocked. By midnight on Wednesday, a total of 1,099 donors had given $250,045.

Madalyn Friedberg, a trustee and the current president of the Brandeis National Committee, contributed $100,000 of the $141,000 gift. 

According to the BNC’s website, the organization is “dedicated to providing philanthropic support to Brandeis University.” 

In a statement directed toward potential donors on the campaign’s website, Friedberg wrote, “I am proud to be part of the Brandeis community, and hope you will join me in supporting our students and the great work being done at this University.” 

Two other challenge gift supporters are Brandon Pick ’08 and Marissa Pick ’07. 

In an interview with the Justice, Interim Director of Annual Giving Aaron Louison explained that the couple are “both athletes. Brandon was on the baseball team, Marissa was on the softball team.” Louison also disclosed that both have been very involved as alumni. 

For example, both Marissa and Brandon served as national co-chairs for the Brandeisians of the Last Decade initiative. Marissa now serves as the co-president of the New York City alumni club of New York City and Brandon is vice chair for Friends of Brandeis Athletics.

On the campaign’s website, the Picks shared their motivation behind their contribution to the challenge gift. It was at Brandeis where “we met each other, we met our best friends and we received a world-class education. Without the generosity of others, none of that would have been possible.” 

As highlighted by Friedberg and the Picks’ generosity, Giving Tuesday’s 1,099 donors have diverse, wide-ranging relationships to Brandeis. The website’s donor affiliation breakdown shows that alumni made up 62 percent of all gifts, parents 12 percent, students 7 percent and friends 3 percent. This year’s total number of gifts is a 46 percent increase from last year’s Giving Tuesday total of 754. 

Louison explained that in the past, similar campaigns have been “directed mostly just toward undergraduate [alumni]. This year, we wanted to bring the entire community together — kind of like one Brandeis.” 

The success of this campaign stems in part from accomplishments achieved by members of the Brandeis community. 

Louison cited different landmark events and awards like the $50 million gift back in June, the Nobel Prize-winning professors and the three professors who were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Louison believes that “the success of this [campaign] was a lot of excitement about what’s going on at Brandeis today.”

Zamira Korff, senior vice president of the Division of Institutional Advancement, adds that “it is gratifying to see so many members of the Brandeis family — both on campus and off — participate in Giving Tuesday. Their collective generosity will support our unique educational culture, which combines boundless inquisitiveness, a desire to improve the world, and a commitment to collaboration between faculty and students.” 

Regarding plans for next year, Louison suggested an even bigger challenge — perhaps 1,948 donors in celebration of Brandeis’s 70th anniversary? But for now, it is more than enough that Brandeis #MadeItGrand.