AUSTIN, Texas — From the early morning hours of April 12 through the evening of April 13, alumni, students, faculty members, staff members and friends of The University of Texas at Austin will rally to support the university with a lively, real-time giving campaign. Now in its fourth year, the campaign known as 40 Hours for the Forty Acres has grown dramatically in participants and results.
Last year, the campaign brought in more than $2.5 million to support a range of programs and initiatives across UT Austin’s campus. In an effort to break last year’s record of more than 4,460 donors, the university has established a challenge pool, underwritten by gifts from alumni and friends recognized as Longhorn Leaders. These funds will be used as rewards to build excitement and incentivize participation. For example, the university will offer up to $10,000 in matching funds during two different “power hours” in the campaign.
“Joining fellow Longhorns in 40 Hours for the Forty Acres shows pride in our great university,” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “The many donors and the worthy projects that they fund help make UT so special. It’s gratifying to see Longhorns stand up to be counted each year during these 40 hours.”
Tara Salazar, a UT junior studying advertising, serves as president of Students Hooked on Texas, a student organization dedicated to spreading awareness about the importance of philanthropy on campus.
“UT is my second home, and without the many donors who support students like me, I don’t know if we would have quite the same hands-on experiences that have helped me grow in my studies over the last three years,” said Salazar.
Philanthropy has become an increasingly important part of funding UT Austin’s excellence. Gifts create scholarships for students who otherwise would not be able to attend college, help recruit top faculty members, and expand opportunities like study abroad and research at the freshman level.
During the 40 hours, alumni and students are encouraged to support the programs and initiatives at UT that are important to them, whether those are specific colleges or schools, research projects, the arts, or student activities.
This year David Rae, who earned a finance degree at UT in 1984 and a J.D. in 1989,
will use 40 Hours for the Forty Acres to endow a scholarship in honor of his mother.
“I have a deep-seated love for UT. Much of the success I have had is thanks to the great education and experiences I had at The University of Texas. Many of us focus on UT sports after graduation and tend to forget what really makes UT a special place, and that is the world-class education,” said Rae.
The 40 Hours for the Forty Acres initiative aims to establish a tradition among the Longhorn community of coming together and supporting the university in every way it can.