Illinois State University will host Birds Give Back: 1 Day for Change, on February 27, 2020. Through the University-wide day of philanthropy, alumni, faculty/staff, students, parents, friends, and the community will donate funds to support their areas of interest at Illinois State.

In its second year, Birds Give Back is held in February for a specific reason. According to Pat Vickerman, vice president of University Advancement, “Holding the ISU giving day after Founding Celebration gives us the opportunity to celebrate the 163-year history of the University and then imagine our future and the role private gift support can play in accelerating our aspirations.”

University supporters are encouraged to make gifts of any size during Birds Give Back at Donations will also be accepted over the phone and in person. See the Birds Give Back website for additional details.

“Each and every gift truly matters at ISU and impacts the trajectory of the University. Together, our alumni and friends will help elevate ISU and take the University to new heights,” said Vickerman.

Several generous donors are issuing giving challenges and matches throughout the day which will unlock additional gifts in support of the University. As a kick-off challenge, Don Watson ’53 will donate $100,000 after 500 individual gifts of any size are made. John Eymann ’77 will add $75,000 to Birds Give Back totals after an additional 500 gifts are made.

Jillian Nelson, senior director of Annual Giving is excited to see Redbirds turn out in even larger numbers for Birds Give Back this year. “Our focus is on participation and the amazing challenges and matches available throughout the day will help every Redbird maximize the impact of their gift no matter the size of their donation. I fully expect Redbirds to set a new giving day record for the number of gifts this year, just as they did last year.”

Redbird supporters are also encouraged to sign up to be Birds Give Back ambassadors. Ambassadors receive exclusive updates and content to share with their networks. The ambassadors who influence the most gifts have the opportunity to win prizes.

“By bringing the Redbird community together to harness our collective philanthropic power, we can make a big impact on the people and programs of Illinois State,” Nelson said.

To learn more about becoming a part of the new annual tradition of Birds Give Back, visit

Birds Give Back will contribute to Illinois State’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. Redbirds Rising was launched in fall 2017 with a goal of raising $150 million in support of scholarship, leadership, and innovation at the University. To date, more than 54,000 donors have contributed over $172 million to the effort.