Faculty And Staff Contributions
Members of the University community are responding to an appeal launched in December by making financial donations to help fund scholarships, faculty endowments, and various programs at UConn. The fund-raising effort is a chance for faculty and staff to contribute to Campaign UConn, and to join in the significant public and private support the University has enjoyed during the past several years.
Becky McEnery, program director for the UConn Foundation, says the current appeal serves many important purposes.
"First and foremost, faculty and staff are essential to the University community and are credited with making the student experience positive and complete, whether in the classroom, the residence halls, or the career center. When they supplement these roles by making a financial donation, it both reflects and deepens their commitment to the institution."
Dana Wilder, assistant vice provost, and Aliza Wilder, associate director of human resources, have made a gift to support the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.
Says Dana Wilder, "I tell the students in my First Year Experience class that in addition to their studies, it would be a shame if they didn't take advantage of the other things UConn offers, such as the arts programs. Aliza and I have always enjoyed attending events at the Jorgensen, and this is our way of giving something back to the University, which has given us so much."
Nelly Abboud, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, made a gift to help provide scholarships for engineering students.
"I really believe in the mission of our school," she says, "and in particular the efforts being made to increase diversity and provide opportunities for women and minorities."
These are not the first gifts the Wilders and Abboud have made to support their favorite programs at the University.
The success and prestige the University is currently experiencing are due in part to timely financial support UConn has received from donors, says McEnery. Connecticut's businesses and industry, taxpayers and state leaders, alumni and other friends of UConn all have provided a financial vote of confidence in the quality of education the University provides, she says. And this support positively impacts the professional experience of faculty and staff.
McEnery says employees can make gifts and pledges throughout the year that may or may not be attached to specific appeals.
Support from faculty and staff has been steady for several years. In each of the past four years, about 1,000 faculty and staff have made donations to the University. The total amount these donors gave in 2003 was $556,824.
While the aim of the appeal is to increase the amount raised each year, it is just as important to increase the number of individual donors, says McEnery. "With the Campaign coming to a close in June, we're really hoping that a record number of faculty and staff will participate this year," she adds.
As honorary co-chairs of the faculty-staff appeal, Kevin Fahey, associate director of campus activities, and Sally Reis, professor and head of the educational psychology department, are charged with encouraging faculty and staff to make donations to the University. McEnery says they were asked to serve because each epitomizes the dedication in terms of time, energy, and financial support that is typical of UConn's faculty and staff.
"Giving is a personal decision and we recognize that people have many choices about where to donate their money, so we encourage everyone to give an amount that feels right for them," Fahey says. "In addition to their daily contributions of energy and effort, we hope to convince the faculty and staff that financial support is an investment in all of our futures."
Many choose to make unrestricted gifts, which allow the University to direct funding where the need is greatest and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Other donors choose to designate their gifts to specific departments or programs, or to areas such as technology improvements, the UConn Libraries, athletics, or one of many student scholarships.
Payroll deduction is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to make a gift, says McEnery. Employees can choose either to have an amount deducted each pay period until further notice, or until a specific total has been reached. In addition, following a trend that is taking place across the country, an increasing number of faculty and staff are making planned gifts to UConn, such as through will provisions or charitable gift annuities.