Gratitude Project to recognize donors, encourage philanthropy

U Give Thanks Rotator

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – A new event at the University of Nebraska at Kearney aims to educate students about philanthropy and encourage them to thank and recognize donors for their impact on the university.

Organized by the University of Nebraska Foundation and UNK Alumni Association, the Blue and Gold Gratitude Project UGiveThaNKs begins during “dead week” April 28 with donor-centered activities and ends with commencement May 9.

In its first year, the event stresses the importance of giving back and includes a variety of activities for students and faculty to express their gratitude to donors. UNK’s Thompson Scholar United students are the primary student leaders involved and will play an active role in carrying out the event.

UGiveThaNKs begins with a barbecue lunch at 11 a.m. on April 28 north of the fountain on the UNK campus. The lunch will include VIP tables for invited donors and brief speeches by Chancellor Doug Kristensen, Vice President of UNK Alumni Relations and Development Lucas Dart and a Thompson Scholar United representative.

A major component of UGiveThaNKs is displaying thank you cards written by students. Thank you cards and drop boxes located in buildings across campus will encourage students, faculty and staff to write a notes of gratitude to donors.

Students also will be asked to express their gratitude for scholarships they have received, share memorable experiences at UNK and thank people at the university such as favorite faculty. The notes will be collected daily and displayed at the Nebraskan Student Union as a symbol of the project and reminder to give thanks for everything UNK offers.

“This will be the central feature of this project and will demonstrate the spirit of giving and gratitude on campus,” said Anne McConkey, director of development for the NU Foundation. “This will give the campus further opportunity to share the goal of showing gratitude to our generous donors.”

Other highlights planned for the Blue and Gold Gratitude Project include:

  • Students will be encouraged to wear a thank you button, which will become a symbol of the project and reminder of the role donors play at UNK.
  • Photos of individual notes of appreciation, as well as video of students writing and displaying their cards, will be featured on the UNK website.
  • Academic colleges, departments and programs will honor, in their own way, donors who have supported them, with an emphasis placed on inviting donors to meet with students and faculty in their departments.

During Campaign for Nebraska, over 8,500 gifts totaling nearly $52 million have been received or pledged in support of UNK since 2005. The majority of donors have directed their gifts toward need and merit-based scholarships, faculty resources and facility enhancements.


Source: Anne McConkey, 308.698.5282,
Writer: Todd Gottula, 308.865.8454,

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