Penn State Athletics’ initial #GivingTuesday challenge a success

December 02, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics’ first #GivingTuesday initiative was a rousing success, with community engagement and contributions for student-athletes from early in the morning until late Tuesday night.

Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, which includes holiday and end-of-year giving.

Preliminary totals show that Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics staff and Nittany Lion supporters contributed 305 gifts to exceed the goal of 300 to help create conditions for success for Penn State’s 800 student-athletes and 31 varsity programs. More than $150,000 was contributed for student-athlete scholarships and other areas of critical student support, including the Morgan Academic Center, athletic training and nutritional needs.

“The passion of our community for students and student success was abundant yesterday,” said Sandy Barbour, Penn State director of athletics. “I’m personally so appreciative of all who gave to support our student-athletes, and for the servant hearts that our students exhibited through their community service. Penn State has so much to be proud of in the examples that our student-athletes, coaches and staff set. It’s crystal clear the impact that those who support us are able to have on opportunities for our students.”

More than 100 Penn State student-athletes, coaches and staff participated in several community engagement activities, including Meals on Wheels food preparation and meal delivery, bringing supplies to Housing Transitions, assisting with tasks at the Women’s Resource Center and Youth Service Bureau, and reading to elementary school children.

Nittany Lion coaches and staff also brought items that were collected for Toys for Tots and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

“It was exciting to see the support for Giving Tuesday from all of our teams, coaches, alumni and fans,” said John Gondak, head coach of Penn State track and field. “Our Happy Valley community is extremely supportive of our athletic department and the University, and our student-athletes sense this in everything they do, so they really enjoy giving back to those that support them. Being involved in the community and supporting Giving Tuesday is an important aspect of their student-athlete experience.”

Penn State Varsity “S” members, alumni and fans demonstrated their support to Penn State Athletics on #GivingTuesday by making gifts to the Levi Lamb Annual Fund and the new Morgan Academic Center via the Bridge to the Future Fund.

Barbour, who gave a $100,000 gift to the Morgan Academic Center via the Bridge to the Future Fund earlier this year, will match #GivingTuesday gifts by Intercollegiate Athletics’ staff members up to $10,000.

Many Penn State student-athletes, staff and teams posted photos, videos and comments on their social media sites during their #GivingTuesday activities. Fans can view videos and photos of #GivingTuesday events by visiting

Last Updated December 15, 2015