tracey-williams-1989-nu-guard_350px.jpgApril 28 Update: With two days left, we're at 979 donors! Tracey has decided to up the ante even more: If an additional 121 donors make a gift by April 30, she will give an additional $25,000. That means if 1,100 donors make gifts of any amount by April 30, she will contribute $100,000 to the University!


April 16 Update: As of today, 687 donors have made a gift in support of the Tracey Benford Challenge! Tracey was so thrilled with the momentum and energy surrounding the challenge that she has decided to take it further: if an additional 213 donors make a gift by April 30, she will contribute an additional $25,000. This means that if a total of 900 donors make a gift by April 30, she will contribute a total of $75,000!


Northwestern alumna and basketball standout Tracey (Williams) Benford ’91 (left) has issued an ambitious challenge to the University community: If 750 or more people make a gift by Thursday, April 30, she will contribute $50,000 to Northwestern.


Tracey, who played on the Northwestern women’s basketball team when they won the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament in 1990, seeks to inspire alumni, family, and friends to take part in the challenge to significantly boost giving in the month of April.


For Tracey—a mathematical methods and economics graduate who is now a partner at Goldman Sachs Chicago—giving back to the University is a way to remain part of the community. “When I issued this challenge,” she says, “I thought it would be a great way to do my part in reconnecting the University with its alumni. I’ve enjoyed becoming more involved, both financially and through my participation in various clubs and programs at Northwestern.”


“There are so many reasons to give back and so many areas to support—making a gift is about making an impact,” she says. “I want to help make the biggest impact possible with this challenge.”


Annual gifts provide a flexible source of funds that are needed each year for student aid, campus programs, and other initiatives. Every single corner of campus is touched by annual gifts, and small gifts can collectively make a big difference. In fact, two out of three alumni gifts are $100 or less, and these contributions add up to about $20 million each year. That’s why the Tracey Benford Challenge is focused on number of donors rather than dollars raised. Gifts of any amount to any area of the University count toward the challenge.


Tracey sums up her time at Northwestern simply: “There wasn’t one specific event or moment or person who made Northwestern special for me—it was everything. Northwestern helped me become who I am today.”


Make a gift to the Tracy (Williams) Benford challenge.


Tweet and post about the challenge using #NUChallenge and #4NUby430.