The UConn Foundation’s second annual Close to Home campaign for faculty and staff was launched in February.
The theme of the campaign is to encourage those who work at the University to support the program areas to which they feel a strong connection.
During 2005, the Close to Home campaign raised more than $570,000 from 1,180 donors.
The goal for this year is more ambitious, says Anne Margaret Gaffney, program director of constituent groups at the UConn Foundation.
“We’re hoping to raise $625,000 and reach 50 percent participation among faculty and staff,” she says.
Gaffney says that from 2004 to 2005, there was an increase of 11 percent in the number of faculty and staff making gifts, as well as a 16 percent increase in the total amount raised.
As in previous years, the focus is again on unrestricted gifts, which provide funds that can be spent immediately to enrich the University’s educational and cultural offerings.
These gifts are applied when and where important needs arise, and supplement the funding that programs receive from the University and other sources.
Thus they can have a significant impact on the quality of UConn education.
Two such opportunities are the Fund for UConn (formerly the President’s Fund) and Deans’ Funds.
The Fund for UConn provides for the University ’s greatest needs in the areas such as scholarships, residential life, and the University libraries.
In addition, every school and college has a Dean’s Fund that enables faculty and staff to support directly the areas where they work and in which they have a vested interest.
Either alternative enables donors to make gifts that may, for example, fund scholarships, send faculty and students to conferences and workshops, bring lecture series and special performances to campus, support research initiatives, and expand UConn’s technology infrastructure.
A volunteer committee has been assembled to help spread the word about the impact of faculty and staff support on all areas of the University. Members include Cameron Faustman, associate dean of agriculture and natural resources; Stuart Sidney, professor of mathematics; Kathryn Myers, professor of art and art history; Lynn Bloom, professor of English; William Stwalley, professor and department head of physics; and Nancy Bull, associate dean of agriculture and natural resources.
The most important thing, says Gaffney, is not necessarily the size of the gift, but that faculty and staff choose to participate.
“Every dollar counts,” she says, “and every gift or pledge helps us achieve our aims.”