By Beth Khalifa
Arizona Summer Wildcat
They provide money for scholarships at the UA, buy computers and books for the library, fund lectures and channel thousands of dollars to each college on campus. They helped build the Student Recreation Center and funded a Date Rape seminar through the Student Health Center Ä all with money donated by parents, alumni and friends of the UA.
"They" are the Annual Fund, a non-profit organization that raised close to $1.6 million last year through direct mail, class reunions, the Parents' Association and Telephone Outreach, a student-employed program that contacts potential donors on an individual basis, said Phoebe Chalk, director of the Annual Fund.
Chalk said parents of UA students are the biggest contributors to the program.
"Parents have a current, very realistic investment in this institution because their student is going to live the next four years of their life, here," she said, adding that tuition at the UA is fairly low compared to other institutions, making it easier for donors to give.
"Those parents are investing everything that they've got to ensure their students are going to get the best education they possibly can, and if that means giving a hundred dollars above and beyond their tuition, they're going to do it," she said.
Bradford Cohen, a parent of two former UA students and member of the Parents' Association, said he has donated to the Annual Fund for almost eight years.
"I think (donating) is necessary," he said. "I know there's not enough money from the state and tuition to provide the services and projects for the students, that we provide."
In fact, as much as 60 percent of the UA's funds are from private support, while the state provides only 40 percent of those funds, Chalk said.
The Annual Fund is part of the greater University of Arizona Foundation, a corporation that develops private support by way of gifts, contributions and investments for the university.
Dana L. Wier, director of communications and special projects, said the Foundation does things on behalf of the UA that the university by law cannot do, such as invest in stocks and bonds, orchestrate bridge loans and lobby.
"The Foundation is here to help the university do things that it would not otherwise be able to do," she said.
The Foundation raised $43.1 million in fiscal year 1992-93 with assets totalling $108 million at the end of that year, making it one of the largest non-profit organizations in the southwestern United States, according to the Foundation's annual report.
Pledges raised through Telephone Outreach, the major contributor to the Annual Fund, go toward the faculty and deans of various colleges, the Parents' Fund, class reunion gifts and unrestricted accounts which go "where the need is greatest," Chalk said.
People can give a gift to a program of their choice, establish a scholarship in their name, invest in endowments and trust funds, or leave a specified amount in a will.
Contributions to the Parents' Fund of $100 go toward a bookplate, in the donor's name, to purchase a book for the UA library. Donors of $100 and up can also become members of such clubs as the Deans' Association, the Douglas Society, the Harvill Society, and the President's Club, for those who give $10,000 up front or $1,500 over ten years.
"It's just a way of making them feel part of the institution," Chalk said.
Chalk said UA President Manuel Pacheco directs the Annual Fund's money-raising decisions.
"He decides what our priorities are at the time, what's going to be raised, and for what," she said.
She said colleges undergoing eliminations do not receive extra funding even though people show concern, especially over recent proposals to eliminate departments in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
"SBS went through what every college went through Ä cutbacks. But because SBS is such a big program, it got flak," she said.
Pledges for certain colleges are channeled in accordance with donors' wishes, but are used at the dean's discretion within that college.
Beth Weaver, development officer for the College of Education, said money received from the Annual Fund is spent on student projects and staff recognition awards, and will soon go toward new scholarships.
The College of Education's development office was established three years ago to raise money within the college and to work with the Annual Fund, Chalk said.
Weaver said the new system provides a good donor acquisition program.
"When people give through this program, those are the people who will give a larger amount later or establish an investment with the college," she said.
She said there is an advantage to receiving money through the Annual Fund because it is "undesignated," allowing the college to spend it on whatever it deems necessary.
"We have a number of private scholarships, but a lot of donors set up specific criteria for that money," Weaver said. "We can designate Annual Fund money for groups that don't have as much support."
Scholarship provisions have been a particular priority of the Parents' Association, which next year will reach its goal of establishing a new scholarship in each college, Chalk said.
The objective of the Parents' Association, which serves as an advisory board to the Annual Fund, is to decide how the Parents' Fund will be used and ensure all students benefit from the spending.
Since joining the board almost five years ago, Cohen said the Parents' Fund has contributed to such causes as the library's new computer system (SABIO) and the development of the Student Escort Service, which provides security on campus.
Of 9,524 people who pledged through Telephone Outreach in fiscal year 1992-93, 2,269, or 24 percent, gave to the Parents' Fund, according to the annual report. Another 27 percent gave to unrestricted accounts, 10 percent to class reunion gifts, and 39 percent designated money to a college.
A year-round staff of 40 to 50 students contact alumni across the nation through a "Smartcall" computer system that provides information on past donations and involvement of every individual, said Jennifer Stammer, program manager of Telephone Outreach.
College deans give talks to the Telephone Outreach employees, informing them about the college and plans for using the money, and fact sheets provide additional information on new research and developments on campus, Chalk said.
"It's providing alums with good information about what's going on on campus, and it's also making our students more aware of what's going on," she said.
Cari Wheat, a communication and deaf studies senior, has worked with the program since last January and said she thinks people feel less intruded upon by student callers.
"Some people hang up right away, but for the most part people will listen to what you're saying," she said.
Chalk said the program builds good relationships with alumni along with raising money.
"We are bringing in people that haven't been in touch with the U of A and getting them involved again," she said. "Even if they say 'no,' they've heard from somebody from the U of A so that, maybe next time, they'll come to homecoming or they'll read more about the Foundation's report."
Chalk said class reunions are an important part of the Annual Fund because they allow alumni to give something back to the institution.
"When they come back, like for their 50th class reunion, they just relive all of those memories about whatever they did," she said. "The nostalgia, everything that comes with it, just brings everything back and they care about (the university)."
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