2021 Giving Day — that's a wrap!

girl holding a huge thank you sign

2021 Giving Day brought a welcomed excitement to the SAIT community as donors, alumni, students and employees came together (online) to bring on the future!

In its fifth year, the Giving Day campaign showcased SAIT’s community spirit and raised awareness for new priority student support areas, such as the Inclusion Matters fund and Level Up Alumni Awards. The 24-hour giving marathon on Oct. 5 and 6 brought together 268 donors and countless supporters to raise $125,421 towards student success.

#SAITGIVES for student success

Past Giving Days saw an in-person element to the 24-hour fundraiser. However, due to in-person restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 campaign was carried out on social media for a second year.

Excited for the chance to be a part of the annual campaign, Saitsa Vice President and second-year student Dawson Thomas and SAIT graduate Lauren Schwering (ISS ’21) stepped up to help boost the #SAITGIVES message with Instagram takeovers.

“Knowing that for every time that #SAITGIVES was used on social media, $2 would be donated to student awards and supports, I was more than happy to help with the campaign,“ says Thomas. “It’s important for students to understand where funding for awards and assistance comes from. Helping to spread the word with #SAITGIVES was just one way.”

dawson thomas lauren schwering

Screenshots of Instagram takeovers with Dawson Thomas, Saitsa VP and Hospitality Management student (left) and Lauren Schwering ISS '21) (right).

Tania Brandstrom, Associate Director of Development and Advancement Services at SAIT, initiated the Hashtag Challenge with a generous offer to give $2 for each use of #SAITGIVES. As the campaign progressed, Rob Milman, SAIT's Associate Director of Security Technology, stepped forward to up the ante to $4 per hashtag, ultimately doubling the impact. Thanks to Brandstrom and Milman’s challenge and the support of those on social media, $1,200 was raised to go directly to student awards.

SAIT Alumni stepping up to the challenges

Throughout the 24-hour marathon, donors could make the most of their gifts by participating in a challenge or two. In some cases, gifts were matched by affinity partner TD Insurance or Guardian Partner Inc. as donations for priority funds and areas of support were received.

SAIT graduates also stepped up by challenging their fellow alumni family members to boost the message or give back to bring others forward.


Stories of impact

The impact donor support has on the success of students goes beyond the money raised. Creating a culture of community and philanthropy at SAIT can have a lifelong impression on how students go on to develop into the leaders of tomorrow.

For SAIT graduates, SAIT graduates Gursh Bal (Pre-Employment Electrician '12, Electrician ’16, OYA '19) and Kai Fahrion (Electrician ’15, OYA ‘19), they take a “lead by example” approach to encourage others to build a brighter and informed future. This year they created the Virtuoso Energy Strides for Sustainability Award — a 3-year commitment that includes raising funds for the award by running marathons.

“We saw this award as a tool to make a difference,” says Bal. “One thing we should be committed to is education and the forward momentum that a person gains from it. Even if you go down a different educational pathway, you will still learn the skills that allow you to be successful in life no matter what.”

SAIT students, past and present, opened up and shared how being a recipient of donor support has helped relieved them from financial burdens, moved them forward in their careers, and acknowledged the hard work they have put into their studies.

kaj bhatia 

Kajol Bhatia
International Student Recruitment Assistant

"I give to SAIT because they believe in their students' professional and personal growth.

As a student, I've received numerous student awards that helped support my journey as an international student in Canada. As an alumna, I've been given the opportunity to move ahead in my career. And as an employee, I give back to SAIT its community to ensure other students have the same opportunities as me.

Support student success!" 

A surprise twist

The total funds raised were sitting at just over $103,000 as Giving Day was coming to a close. But with mere minutes to spare, a $20,000 gift was made by an anonymous SAIT graduate. With this thoughtful gift, the final amount raised went beyond the initial goal of $110,000 and brought the final tally to $125,421.

“The support of the SAIT community was unbelievable this year,” says Anna Kravchik, Manager of Annual Giving at SAIT. “With all that is going on in the world, it nice to know that people are still paying attention and want to help where they can. The SAIT community clearly cares about the success of its students, and I am proud to be a part of it.”