Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass Annual Fund sees surprising fundraising success

By Cameron Ford

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After a mere three weeks of fundraising, the UMass Amherst Annual Fund’s Faculty and Staff Campaign has collected over 800 donations, amounting to a surprising $471,313.

The Faculty and Staff Campaign was recently introduced as a means of encouraging faculty and staff to help out the cash-strapped campus, according to Annual Fund director Tom Navin.

“We really want to encourage faculty and staff to [fund] what they feel is important on campus,” Navin said.

Faculty and staff have always donated to the Annual Fund, but this time, the Faculty and Staff Campaign was introduced as an extra incentive to bring in more donations. It achieves this through a system of “matching” donations, meaning that the university will match any gift up to $10,000 in the form of another donation to “qualified campus accounts”.

“For example, if you’re a faculty member and you contribute $1,000, then we’ll match that $1,000,” said Navin. “If you were to donate more than $10,000, only the first $10,000 will be matched. It’s a great incentive to encourage people to give back to the university. Personally, I’m giving back to the Fine Arts Center, the library, the School of Education and the Isenberg School of Management, since I graduated from there.”

UMass set aside $500,000 to be used for the matching process, and as of now, 814 donations (amounting to $323,040) are eligible to be matched by that fund.

“Our ultimate goal is $550,000, and we are quickly approaching that goal,” Navin added.

Current faculty and staff members have the options of donating directly with a credit or debit card, or making a pledge in the form of a payroll deduction. Retired employees may not opt for the payroll reduction. According to a post on the Faculty and Staff Campaign web site, “to receive matching funds from the campus, pledges must be received by December 31, 2009 and must be paid in full by June 30, 2010, with payments being matched on a first come, first serve basis.”

In addition to Mr. Navin, this fundraising effort is also being spearheaded by Joseph Bartolomeo, professor and chair of the English Department; Lee Edwards, professor emeritus and retired dean of Humanities and Fine Arts; Leslie Schaler, design illustrator with the University Libraries; Cynthia Suopis, senior lecturer in University Without Walls; and Johnny Whitehead, chief of the UMass Amherst Police Department.

Cameron Ford can be reached at [email protected]

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