BERKELEY -- Cal’s first year of participation in the national #GivingTuesday initiative ended with success as Cal student-athletes took to the community and to social media channels to show their support, while Cal Athletics raised nearly half a million dollars in gifts as part of the two-pronged movement based on personal philanthropy.
"I'm so proud of our student athletes, staff and community for their incredible engagement with GivingTuesday,” said Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics. “Thanks to the generosity of our Cal supporters vital resources were generated to support our student-athletes. It was also incredible to see our student-athletes offer gratitude and compassion as many spent the day in the community serving others.”
Now in its second year as a national initiative, #GivingTuesday coincides with the Thanksgiving Holiday and days such as “Black Friday,” and “Cyber Monday,” and serves as a celebratory, fully connected day to kick-off the giving season, when many make their holiday and end-of-year charitable gifts or volunteer their time in the community.
As an outreach effort with the student-athlete-driven BearTracks initiative, members of the Golden Bear Advisory Committee (GBAC) visited the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland to help with homework, play games and promote physical activity and mentor the young children as positive role models.
"Engagement of youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland by student-athletes is shaping both Cal leaders and the future of underserved populations in the very communities that we live, learn and compete in," said Director of Student-Athlete Affairs Paul Savage. "The reciprocity of the partnership with the clubs across sports opens up a future filled with opportunities to build character, inspire excellence and deliver on the Cal promise to serve the community as a platform for using athletics to promote scholarship."
Current and former Cal student-athletes also visited Sliver, a Berkeley restaurant that promotes human health and aims to fight human trafficking, to prepare and then deliver pizzas. Five-time USA outdoor track and field 800m champion Alysia Montano, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Caitlin Leverenz, and current Cal men’s soccer star Christian Dean and men’s water polo player Collin Smith were among those preparing pizzas for the Boys & Girls Club kids and homeless in the community.
Many Cal student-athletes took to Twitter and Facebook posting #UNselfie pictures of acts of kindness or philanthropy they planned to show throughout #GivingTuesday.
Cal donors also answered the call to show their support for Cal Athletics, contributing more than $470,000 in online gifts to various Cal Athletics teams and programs.
“GivingTuesday was a wonderful way to make a difference at Cal with a gift that supports the players, coaches and staff who dedicate their lives to making Cal the best place in the world to receive an education,” said Cal men’s tennis head coach Peter Wright.
Cal Athletics liveblogged all of the day’s events with photos, videos and features. To review the liveblog of the day’s events, visit CalBears.com/GivingTuesday.