Campus & community, Campus news

What’s the big deal about Big Give?

It's Big Game Week, and UC Berkeley is adding a new tradition: Big Give. The campus's first-ever, 24-hour online fundraising blitz stands to raise big dollars for students, faculty and research, and it all happens on Thursday (Nov. 20). Details are at As the day approaches, Lishelle Blakemore, director of annual programs, answered a few questions about it, and why the Big Give is so important.

Big Game Week is upon us, and with it, all the events that are now tradition — the Bonfire Rally, Big Splash (water polo match between Cal and Stanford), Big Titration (Chemistry 1A experiment that turns red-and-white into blue-and-gold), and Cal/Stanford Sing-off (an a cappella competition between the two rivals), to name just a few.

Now you can add a new one to the mix — Big Give.

Big Give is a big deal, it turns out. UC Berkeley’s first-ever, 24-hour online fundraising blitz stands to raise big dollars for students, faculty and research across the campus on Thursday, Nov. 20. The details are at

As the day approaches, the campus NewsCenter asked Lishelle Blakemore, UC Berkeley’s director of annual programs, to answer a few questions about the Big Give and why this one day of giving on Nov. 20 is so important.

Lishelle Blakemore

Lishelle Blakemore, director of annual giving at UC Berkeley, gets psyched of for Thursday’s Big Give. (UC Berkeley photo)

NewsCenter: What is Big Give, and why does it matter?

Lishelle Blakemore: We believe that when alumni, students, Cal parents and friends come together — we have more than 450,000 alumni worldwide — they can make a big impact. Big Give is a perfect illustration of why size matters: UC Berkeley boasts comprehensive excellence up and down the entire campus and the depth of highly ranked programs is unequaled in so many ways. It’s priceless. U.S. News & World Report just ranked Berkeley the No. 3 — and the No. 1 public — university in the world. That’s big! Particularly for our alumni, there is a lot of pride in that fact and a real desire to sustain and enhance our excellence for years to come.

How will it work? 

Big Give is a great way for our alumni and friends to give back to their favorite area of campus. It’s very simple. All you have to do is go to starting at 9 p.m. Pacific time on Nov. 19. We are giving everyone early access and starting three hours early. You’ll have 24 hours, until 9 p.m. Pacific time on Nov. 20, to give to your favorite program.

Thanks to key support from early donors, we have prize funds available for contests to be held throughout the day. Schools, colleges and programs that raise the most money or have the highest day-of participation over the course of the day will win prize funds. There will also be hour-long contests in a variety of categories during the day, awarding those programs that generate most student donors, most new donors, and so forth. All the details are at

How much do you hope to raise?

The success of Big Give will be measured not so much by how much we raise, although we look forward to raising big dollars, but in how many people participate, especially people who may not have given to Berkeley in the past. We know that excitement is already building just by looking at the buzz on social media around the #CalBigGive hashtag.

When will we know how much was raised?

There will be leaderboards with contest and overall totals updated continuously at on Nov. 20 with final tallies that night. See you at Big Give!