Utah Valley University – Scholarship Drive-In Gala

Posted on 02/11/2021

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Title Scholarship Drive-In Gala
Institution Utah Valley University
Submitted By Samantha Thee
Assistant Director of Donor Connection
Category Stewardship Communications
Institution Type College / University
What fiscal year did this effort occur? 2020
Description Our President’s Scholarship Ball was creatively reimagined due to COVID-19. Our gala was turned into a COVID safe 1950’s drive-in movie themed event, where donors & guests enjoyed a night of entertainment, delicious delivered food, all to support UVU students through the presidential scholarship.
What makes this unique In a few short months, our university was able to plan and execute a fundraising event that was not only COVID safe, but was also able to raise $500,000 for student scholarships. We were innovative in the way we engaged our donors, while also respecting them and providing them care & comfort for every level of concern. The program was broadcasted on giant screens & audio was broadcasted on car radios. Food was prepared by our culinary arts students and delivered in individual bags to each car to prevent exposure. Cars were parked 9 feet apart so that guests could sit outside of their cars to enjoy the program if they wanted. The program was a mix of pre-recorded impact videos and socially distanced performances on our stage. It was a huge university wide effort that paid off, not only in the number of donations we received, but also in the way we reconnected all of our external constituents.
Outcome This COVID safe event resulted in raising over $500,000 for our presidential scholarship. Relationships between the university, donors, community members, and students were rekindled after a months of quarantining. Not a single person contracted COVID-19 from this event.


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