MACOMB/Moline, IL – On Saturday, April 24, 2021, Western Illinois University alumni and friends from across the country and around the world will come together as one Leatherneck community for WIU’s fifth annual Western Challenge online day of giving, which also coincides with the annual Purple & Gold Day celebration.

This 24-hour online giving event unites the Leatherneck community in giving back to support their favorite colleges, departments, programs, teams and causes on campus. Many participants will be giving for the first time.

“I always thought the only people who gave to Western were wealthy and able to make huge donations,” said Anyssa Hining ’16. “I really didn’t think that small gifts made a difference.”

Hining said her mind changed when working as a Phonathon caller for the WIU Foundation when she realized “that alumni could give Western Illinois University Purple & Gold Day, Western Challenge Set for April 24directly to the programs, scholarships and causes that mean the most to them.

“I think more students and alumni need to be aware of that. I was excited to make my first gift as an alumna last year to support the WIU Student Emergency Fund,” she added. “If enough people make small gifts to the things we care about at Western, there is so much we can accomplish together.”

During the Western Challenge, many donors will have their gift amplified by special match and challenge opportunities, which are made possible by contributions from alumni and friends who want to inspire generosity among their fellow Leathernecks. For example, Martin O’Connor ’78 will contribute an additional $1,000 to fully endow the Dr. Ken Nimrick scholarship if 50 gifts are designated to any area in the School of Agriculture before midnight on April 24.

“I’m honored to support my alma mater during the Western Challenge,” O’Connor said. “I hope this challenge inspires other alumni to give back to the school and University that’s given so much to us. It’s a great day to be a Leatherneck!”

According to Director of Annual Giving Tim Hallinan ’95, because individuals have their own experiences and memories of Western, the WIU Foundation provides donors the ability to designate where their gifts are used.

“Be it a department, a scholarship, athletics or cause, our alumni and friends can choose where their donations are used,” Hallinan added. “When we give together as one Leatherneck community, we empower our students to succeed and we make resounding statements about our belief in Western and the importance of our mission and values.”

For updates and participation, follow the “Western Challenge” Facebook page.


Western Illinois University Purple & Gold Day, Western Challenge Set for April 24
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.