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Give to UC Merced 2023 Raises Nearly $1.3 Million, Shattering Year-Old Record

January 26, 2024
UC Merced student pose for a photo. The image reads,
Nearly $1.3 million was raised thanks to the generosity of more than 600 donors.

Hundreds of UC Merced supporters made it crystal clear they believe in the university's mission, giving a record-breaking amount to support current Bobcats and other members of the campus community, through scholarships and fellowships, research projects and more.

A total of 692 gifts were made during the campus's annual monthlong fundraising campaign, Give to UC Merced, which amounted to nearly $1.3 million in vital funding for the university.

The grand total surpassed the goal of raising $200,000 between Nov. 28 (Giving Tuesday) and Dec. 31, 2023, and shattered the previous record of $952,000 donated during the campaign in 2022.

During a time when many people are finding ways to stretch their dollar further, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, family and friends generously gave to a variety of areas.

"We are grateful for each and every person who believes in our institution and who has pledged generous support through Give to UC Merced and other initiatives," Vice Chancellor and Chief External Relations Officer Ed Klotzbier said.

This was the 10th year the university observed Give to UC Merced, and the fourth year in a row that it was extended from Giving Tuesday — the traditional day of philanthropic support in late November — through the end of the year.

Since 2014, more than 7,800 gifts have been provided to UC Merced via the year-end giving initiatives, totaling over $4.3 million. All donations made through Give to UC Merced and Giving Tuesday since July 2019 count toward the university's first comprehensive fundraising campaign, Boldly Forward: The Campaign for UC Merced, which looks to raise $200 million by 2030. So far, nearly $100 million has been donated to Boldly Forward.

UC Merced has become a household name throughout the Central Valley and beyond. From 2003, when founding faculty members and graduate students began setting up research facilities on the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, to 2023, when the new medical education pathway launched, UC Merced continues to inspire people to show their support. Out of a total of 616 donors, 359 of them donated to the university for the first time during Give to UC Merced.

Donations are being allocated to nearly 100 funds, which are divided into 12 unique gift areas that include student success, academics and research, arts and athletics, among others. Some major highlights from the 2023 campaign include commitments from proud alumni to establish new scholarship endowments, as well as donations to university departments that are helping Bobcats achieve excellence.

The UC Merced Library is among the several entities receiving gifts through the fundraising campaign. With the funding, staff members can continue providing students, faculty and the larger community with unique access to library resources and other information sources.

"The library is greatly appreciative of the donations and would like to take this opportunity to thank the donors for their generous giving," University Librarian Haipeng Li said. "These funds will be used for the exciting initiatives the library has taken on in support of research, teaching and learning to benefit the campus community. One of our top priorities is securing funding for the development of the Sierra Nevada-Central Valley Archive, which will multiply opportunities for education and engagement and bring long-lasting benefits to the wider region."

A new medical education initiative also garnered support.

UC Merced welcomed the inaugural cohort of the San Joaquin Valley Prime+ B.S. to M.D. Pathway last fall. The 15 students from across the Central Valley are working toward their bachelor's degrees at UC Merced and attaining their medical degrees here and at UCSF Fresno. The new students are starting their medical journey at a perfect time, given that the Valley is facing a severe physician shortage.

"The B.S. to M.D. Pathway trains students to become skillful, humanistic physicians prepared to meet the needs of San Joaquin Valley patients and families," Office of Medical Education Director Dr. Margo Vener said. "Donating to medical education helps create future doctors 'from the Valley, for the Valley.'"

Sports were also popular among donors. Bobcats will reap the benefits from gifts pledged to different athletics programs, including men's water polo.

"As we move into the Western Water Polo Association/National Collegiate Athletic Association (WWPA/NCAA), this is amazing, and we thank all who supported our men's water polo program through Give to UC Merced," head men's and women's water polo coach Johnny Bega said. "We are so excited for our water polo program here at UC Merced and proud to be Bobcats."

Give to UC Merced is observed at the end of every year, but donations to the university are welcomed year-round. Financial support can be provided to any of the schools, departments, programs or initiatives throughout the university. Each gift — no matter the amount — helps remove barriers and ensures current and future Bobcats become successful leaders and changemakers.

Anyone interested in making a gift can visit for more information.