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Jefferson Giving Day

You could argue the first Jefferson Giving Day was on March 17, 1872.

Back then, the young medical college had outgrown the clinic it rented in the Tivoli Theater. The Board of Trustees was looking into the feasibility of building its own freestanding teaching hospital. And the Alumni Association, which had been formed in 1870 with the icon Samuel Gross, MD 1828, as its first president, was keenly interested in supporting that effort.

At a special meeting of the Alumni Association and the Board on that day in March, alumnus A.C. Bournonville, MD 1828, said he would donate $250,000 by June 1874 if others contributed as well. The room was electrified, and records state that in the space of 10 minutes, an additional $10,000 was pledged to the building. Within two months, they had raised $350,000 to build the first Jefferson Hospital, designed in the idiosyncratic brick, Gothic style of Frank Furness, Philadelphia’s great architect.

The modern Giving Day happened on April 4, and it was an equally spectacular success.

For 24 hours across all our campuses and online, Jefferson pride shone bright, proving that we are indeed truly better together. Hundreds of members of our community, including our volunteers, rallied together for one purpose: To make a difference at Jefferson.

It was a day of joy and festivities, with treats, music, prize drawings, and appearances from special guests like the Mummers, Eagles Pep Band, and even the Phillie Phanatic.

A total of 3,021 alumni, faculty, staff, patients, students, family, and friends came together to celebrate philanthropy and its impact by raising $400,212 in support of patient care, research, scholarships, and more. From that number, 39 percent of total funds raised were designated to the university, with four percent going specifically to scholarships. Jefferson alumni graciously made 20 percent of all gifts.

The day featured several challenge matches to encourage others to give. Our president, Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, pledged to give $50,000 when we surpassed 400 donors. Alumnus Peter Scoles, MD ’70, pledged $5,000 if 50 people contributed to the Class of 1970 Scholarship Fund. There was a 1:1 match on all gifts to the Mitchell M. Weiss, MD ’94 and Leslie L. Weiss, MD ’93 Memorial Scholarship Fund. And renowned surgeon Gerald Marks, MD ’49, created the Sidney Kimmel Medical College Surprise Challenge, which matched 1:1 all unrestricted gifts to the medical college.

A special thank you to all the alumni who contributed to Jefferson’s inaugural Giving Day. The event was successful because of you.

Elizabeth A. Dale, EdD, MPA
Executive Vice President and
Chief Advancement Officer
Office of Institutional Advancement


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