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Giving Day supporters show what it means to be a SAIT catalyst

Two SAIT students hold up a sign that says "Thank you for being a catalyst."

Taking action, expressing generosity and making change are hallmark characteristics of people who are catalysts. On SAIT Giving Day, 617 SAIT catalysts came together to raise more than $215,000 for students.  

“The community and the support of our students blow me away every year,” says Anna Kravchik, Annual Giving Officer for SAIT Alumni and Development. “It’s more than just the dollars raised — it’s about a community of individuals who have come together to support SAIT students. We set out to show everyone what it means to be a SAIT catalyst but, in the end, I think they really showed us.”

Over 24 hours — from 10 am on Wednesday, Oct. 16 to 10 am on Oct. 17 — a record number of gifts rolled in from SAIT employees, students, alumni and our extended family of supporters. The total raised also includes funds provided by our generous matching donors and partners as well as from our Giving Day sponsors, Chartwells and Manulife.

“Our students see this support and know that we have their backs,” Kravchik says. “They know we are really pushing for them to have the best, most relevant education possible so they can go out and succeed in their careers.”

Augmenting the SAIT experience

Giving Day kicked off with the exciting reveal of an augmented reality mural that, when scanned with the Augle App, shows a short video depicting the everyday life of SAIT graduates on the job. Those who missed the event still have time to watch the mural come to life. The augmented experience will remain in SAIT's Culbert Atrium, Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre until Oct. 23. 

Students, staff, sponsors and other guests watch SAIT's Giving Day augmented reality mural come to life on their phones through the Augle App.
Students, staff, sponsors and other guests watch SAIT's Giving Day augmented reality mural come to life on their phones through the Augle App. Photo by Josie Chu.

Chartwells, SAIT’s campus food service provider, were the lead sponsors for Giving Day. To help share the message of philanthropy throughout the campaign, most Chartwells locations on campus offered customers the option to add $1 or $2 to their bills as a Giving Day donation. Proceeds from this and from sales of their legendary Rice Krispy squares went towards the SAIT Opportunities Fund. 

Most Chartwells locations across SAIT campus offered customers the option to add $1 or $2 to their bills as a Giving Day donation.
Photo by Josie Chu.

Challenging SAIT catalysts

Between the very first gift received and the very last, there were Giving Day challenges throughout all 24 hours that kept donors on their toes, watching for opportunities to make the most of their contributions. In some cases, matching donors pledged to double or even triple donations that came in for priority funds and areas of support.

The SAIT Trojans raised more than $20,000 for the Adopt-A-Trojan program, which provides individual teams with funding for equipment and out-of-town competitions and conferences. Long-time Trojans supporter and 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Dennis Chorney gave matching gifts of $1,000 to each team that raised $1,000 on Giving Day.

SAIT Trojans raised more than $20,000 for the Adopt-A-Trojan program on Giving Day.
Social media posts from the 2019 SAIT Giving Day.

Donors also came out strong in support of Programs for Vulnerable Youth. A generous donor pledged to triple every dollar raised and in the end, $35,400 was allocated to the cause.

Corus Entertainment offered to match Giving Day donations to the Global News John Himpe Memorial Award up to a total of $21,361. The goal was to raise enough money to make the award an endowment that will provide a $1,000 scholarship to a student in the Radio, Television and Broadcast News program every year in perpetuity. That goal was met with nearly $27,000 donated in memory of broadcaster and SAIT alumnus John Himpe, who passed away suddenly this year.

Social media posts about John Himpe during SAIT Giving Day 2019.


For every use of the hashtag #SAITGIVES on social media, a matching donor gave two dollars to the SAIT Students’ Association Adopt-A-Family program, which helps SAIT families in need through the holidays.

Just thirty minutes into the campaign, #SAITGIVES was trending on Twitter in Calgary and by 10 am on Oct. 17, 642 #SAITGIVES posts were counted. The matching donor topped up his gift, contributing $2,500 to the program. This, along with $2,550 in Giving Day donations, means the Adopt-A-Family program has more than $5,000 to support SAIT families this holiday season.

SAIT's Giving Day hashtag #SAITGIVES was trending on Twitter in Calgary just 30 minutes into the campaign.

Answering the call

The Giving Day action wasn’t all on social media — the SAIT Student Calling team was also on the phone throughout the campaign, calling and texting alumni and donors to ask for their support.

The SAIT community responded in kind.

Donations began even before the campaign launched. The first challenges were met early — one lucky donor received a gift certificate to SAIT’s award-winning restaurant, The Highwood, and another received a gift basket of tempting, student-made treats from The Market Place.

SAIT's Student Calling team celebrates their contributions to Giving Day

October 16 also happened to be SAIT’s 103 birthday. In honour of this milestone, the donor who made the 103rd gift received a brewery tour at Tool Shed Brewing Company.

By 6 pm, we reached the $100,000 mark and our goal of $135,000 was within reach. By 10 am on Oct. 17, donors had pushed the amount raised well beyond that goal.

“It was an amazing, rewarding and heart-warming day,” says Kravchik. “I am inspired by the stories, the support and the positivity that Giving Day brings to SAIT. We can’t wait until next year.”

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