UM-Flint students were 'Leaders and Best' during Giving Blueday 2024

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A UM-Flint baseball cap on a table with a Giving Blueday sign
Student organizations took center stage during Giving Blueday 2024, creating new opportunities for donors to support the work being done by learners and doers on campus.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines during Giving Blueday 2024, the University of Michigan-Flint Women's Soccer Club went on the offensive. The team set a lofty goal: raising $1,000 from at least 15 donors. Thanks to their efforts and the generosity of donors, they not only met but exceeded those benchmarks, with $1,245 raised from 36 donors.

Abigail Weycker

Abigail Weycker is a junior business administration major from Flint and a member of the Women's Soccer Club.

"We participated in Giving Blueday this year because community support ensures that we step onto the field not just as players, but as athletes equipped with top-notch gear, from quality balls to training equipment. The money we raised is going to go towards furthering the rebuilding of the club since COVID and making us a better organization, building a legacy that goes beyond the boundaries of the soccer field," she said.

Thanks to the work of students like Weycker and the generous support of the university community, UM-Flint raised $124,000 from 400 donors during Giving Blueday 2024, the University of Michigan's annual day of giving. This year's event – which took place on March 13 – marked its 10th anniversary. The U-M system raised a total of $5.3 million from 11,500 donors during the day.

The Women's Soccer Club posing on a field.
The Women's Soccer Club worked to provide donors the opportunity to support their work on and off the field. Several club members became "Giving Blueday Champions," encouraging their supporters to give through a personalized giving link.

While the work of students was invaluable in making Giving Blueday 2024 a success for UM-Flint, their efforts were ultimately supported by the generosity of donors who believe in the transformative effects of student organizations and resources. Such was the case for the Men's Ice Hockey Club. Main Manufacturing – a hydraulic flange manufacturer based in Grand Blanc – provided a one-to-one match for gifts of up to $5,000 to the club. Thanks to the club's work and the matching gift, the team raised $8,205 from 50 donors.

Joshua Appleberg

"We were aware of the fantastic opportunity that was bestowed on our program and planned accordingly. Making sure we got the message out to as many people as possible including alumni, important faculty, social media followers, family and friends was critical to our success. We were extremely pleased with the support we received from these audiences," said Joshua Appleberg, club president and senior business administration student from Byron.

"We plan to use the funds to further expand the program and its vision to make it to a national championship," he said. "Recruiting efforts will be greatly enhanced by upgrades to the locker room, additional equipment and road trips for away games."

Some students wore multiple hats – and helmets – this Giving Blueday. Abe Dabaja is president of the Men's Baseball Club and Student Government vice president. He helped both organizations have a successful day of giving. 

"I love talking about the stories behind these two great student organizations, one a team working together to raise funds for its potential first playoff games in just its third year of existence, and the other a diverse group of student leaders working together to bring about change to this campus and represent the voices of students. These organizations got involved in the campus community through tabling events in the University Center and an overwhelming presence on social media to increase the scope of their audiences and expand the overall base of potential donors for the organization," said Dabaja, a junior marketing major from Grand Blanc. 

Abe Dabaja at bat.
Dabaja's efforts helped Club Baseball raise more than $1,200, while Student Government garnered more than $750 in gifts.

Partnerships with donors extended far beyond club sports to other essential campus resources. The Marian E. Wright Writing Center raised close to $4,500, aided by matching funds from Barry and Denise Trantham. 

"Receiving good grades in high school wasn't a challenge for me, but the transition to college brought about a significant hurdle when I received my first poor grade in writing. I recognize the value of having a support system like UM-Flint's Writing Center that offers guidance and improves students' writing abilities," said Barry Trantham, a 1974 UM-Flint graduate with bachelor's degrees in economics and business administration. "My wife and I chose to provide a Giving Blueday matching contribution to the university's Writing Center. We hope to help ensure that students have the resources they need to overcome similar challenges and excel in their college careers."

Densie and Barry trantham
Barry and Denise Trantham's matching gift on Giving Blueday reflects their commitment to students' academic success.

Jacob Blumner is a professor of English and director of the Writing Center. 

"Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we will be able to grow our support for the Rough Draft Cafe, our community writing center located in the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library. We will also continue to support the professional development of our tutors by funding their presentations and attendance at international, regional, and state conferences. Finally, we believe the funds will help us host our second Writers' Retreat," Blumner said. 

While the Writing Center offers a friendly, affirming space for students to receive help with academic writing, resumes, creative writing and more, another campus resource works to ensure students can meet their basic needs while focusing on their studies. 

Wolverine Essentials – which began in 2019 as the Wolverine Food Den – has grown to offer clothing, toiletries and hygiene items. Staff also helps students access and apply for state benefits and other resources and services related to housing, transportation, and health and wellness. Wolverine Essentials raised more than $2,000 on March 13. 

"​​Wolverine Essentials relies completely on grants and donations. Gifts received help make it possible to stay open and provide UM-Flint students support with access benefits (SNAP, transportation, childcare, and more), find business attire for fieldwork and interviews, and receive food and basic needs to continue pursuing their degree," said Anthony Webster Jr., associate director of the Office of the Dean of Students. 

Shari Schrader, vice chancellor for advancement, said this year's Giving Blueday was a showcase of the talents, dedication and passion of UM-Flint students. 

"Seeing students with such a diverse range of interests – from sports to academics to support services – make this Giving Blueday their own was truly inspiring. This level of involvement from UM-Flint learners resonated with donors and contributed to the success of matching funds and other generous gifts from the UM-Flint community," Schrader said. "Unlocking every student's potential is the reason for Giving Blueday, and it was inspiring to see our students take such an active role in sharing their stories and aspirations with donors."

Student support was the theme of Giving Blueday, but gifts supporting the next generation of Leaders & Best are welcome year-round. Those interested in learning more about giving can contact University Advancement at 810-424-5448 or visit the UM-Flint Giving webpage

Logan McGrady is the marketing & digital communication manager for the Office of Marketing and Communication.