Up for the Challenge

Challenge donors have been a part of One Day for STATE since day one – spreading the word, rallying Jackrabbits, and making the day an unmissable event.

All great things truly take a village, and in the case of One Day for STATE, it takes the entire Jackrabbit family.

A few members of that family have been behind the magic of the annual giving day since day one – our challenge donors.

Established in 2017, South Dakota State University’s One Day for STATE celebration began with what was, at the time, an ambitious aim to rally 500 donors in 24 hours; the inaugural giving day wound up connecting 1,196 donors. By 2023, One Day for STATE had skyrocketed to goals of over 5,000 donors in just one day.

The question we at the SDSU Foundation often receive is, “How do you do it?

When explaining One Day for STATE to those asking just what the hype is when it comes to this ambition-turned-tradition, a similar answer always comes to mind:

Our people.
The impact of One Day for STATE lies not in the number of dollars raised, but in the number of people reached – and our challenge donors play a critical role in rallying others to join in the excitement of transforming lives at SDSU.

Challenges are unlocked throughout the day based on how many Jackrabbits make a gift, not the size of the gift they make. In effect, a donor making a gift of $5 has the power to unlock thousands of dollars more, and none of it would be possible without the generous people behind these challenges.

Our people have the opportunity to support the areas of campus that matter to them most, ranging from academic majors that led to their careers, to extracurriculars that shaped lifelong friendships, to traditions and experiences they’d never forget.

Challenges come in all varieties.

First-time donor? There’s a challenge for you.

Recently join the Jackrabbit alumni family? There’s a challenge for you.

Early bird or night owl? There’s a challenge for you.

Current student at SDSU? There’s a challenge for you.

Want to support a specific college or program? …Well, you get the idea.

Simply acting as a challenge donor has become a tradition in and of itself for some Jackrabbits, joining in the first ever One Day for STATE and returning year after year.

One such example is Gordon Niva and Susan Lahr.

The couple has become a regular fixture of the event, giving back to multiple areas on campus that hold special meaning for them.

You don't get a second chance to get in on the ground floor of something big. One Day for STATE felt deserving and had potential to reach younger graduates through the use of social media with focused fundraising. The operational concept of the event is a proven success, and we wanted to do something to inspire that first gift for someone.

Gordon Niva

From the beginning, several alumni and friends answered this bold idea for philanthropy with immediate enthusiasm that has only grown with time. In 2017, 25 challenges were offered up in support of the event. In 2023, more than 100 challenges from both individuals and businesses have joined in the effort to celebrate all things SDSU from across the globe.

One Day for STATE is all about Jackrabbits banding together to transform the lives of their fellow Jackrabbits, and the more people that join the frenzy of philanthropy, the more magic we build at SDSU each year.

It takes a village, a community, and an entire family of the yellow and blue to make a difference.

Are you up for a challenge?