Villanova University – "Cat Cabs" Giving Day Student Activity

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Title"Cat Cabs" Giving Day Student Activity
InstitutionVillanova University
Submitted ByKasia Jaworski
Assistant Director, Student Philanthropy and Reunion Giving
CategorySpecial Campaigns/Challenges
Institution TypeCollege / University
What fiscal year did this effort occur?2020

On 1842 Day, Villanova’s giving day, students participated in “Cat Cabs,” a play on Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab. Students rode in golf carts, answered themed-trivia questions, and earned money for their favorite areas of campus, thanks to the generous support of alumni and parent sponsors.

What makes this unique

We believe that the Cat Cabs initiative truly embodies what philanthropy means at Villanova: donors supporting students and the causes they feel passionate about, and students thinking critically about their involvement and the impact of philanthropy. It was an interactive and hands-on approach to philanthropy that sparked excitement across campus on our annual day of giving. Each Cat Cab had a banner with the name(s) of the sponsor(s). When students stepped foot into the cab, the trivia hosts explained that generous donors sponsored each cab and that those funds would benefit the area of their choice. The Cat Cab experience allowed students to understand firsthand that through philanthropy at Villanova, they can fund trips, complete special projects, and meet other needs for their student groups, teams, and academic departments, all while catching a ride to class!


Our goal for Cat Cabs was to engage students on campus in a unique way, encourage them to actively participate in 1842 Day, and give them an opportunity to support their favorite campus organizations and departments. Additionally, we wanted students to understand the importance of philanthropy and see the direct impact it has on their organizations’ needs and goals. Four Cat Cabs (golf carts) were sponsored by seven donors/families for a total of $60,000 that was ultimately designated to 100+ select areas of campus by more than 300 student participants throughout the day. Staff members, students and “campus celebrities” participated as trivia hosts, including our University President Father Peter Donohue, that asked the trivia questions while a driver brought students to their next destination on campus. Our original goal for the Cat Cab concept was to get more students involved on 1842 Day in a creative and fun way. Due to the overwhelming positive response to the first year of Cat Cabs (FY19), we doubled the number of cabs in and sponsorship money available to “win,” allowing 50% more students to participate. Additionally, Cat Cabs were featured on Facebook Live and Instagram stories, which garnered a total of 31,000+ views and 1,500+ engagements.