UW-Eau Claire Foundation surpasses fundraising goal

The UW-Eau Claire Foundation set a goal to raise $50 million by Dec. 31. There’s more than a month to go and the Foundation’s goal has been met and exceeded by $2 million.

At an Oct. 26 meeting, the Foundation board discovered they had $52 million in gifts and commitments, according to a university press release.

The Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign started in 2002, and in the past five years, more than 20,000 alumni and other donors have supported the campaign’s goal of reaching $50 million, according to Foundation records.

Kimera Way, executive director, said the Foundation was founded in 1958 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

“The mission is to solicit, receive, manage and disperse private gifts on behalf of the university,” Way said.

The Foundation raises money through various means, Way said.

The Telefund drive, which runs throughout the school year, allows Eau Claire students to call alumni and ask for donations.

Way said the Foundation also raises money by sending staff members out to talk with people. She said they raise money through “a combination of personal interaction and Telefund.”

The foundation provides more than $1 million dollars a year for student scholarships and support, Way said.

The Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign is a historical campaign on behalf of the university, Way said. Originally, the campaign aimed to raise $35 million, which was changed to $50 million when the coordinators realized they had the potential to raise more.

“It is the first time the university and campus invited alumni across the world to work generously together,” Way said.

She said the campaign is a way to call attention to the university’s needs and make an effort to reach out to alumni and friends to ask for a contribution. “Friends” are any donors who did not attend the university. Examples include parents of current students and local business owners, as well as people who have moved to Eau Claire and believe in the “importance of the university and health of the community,” Way said.

The Foundation disperses its money in a variety of ways, Way said, including funding scholarships, technology, faculty and staff development and facilities.

At the Oct. 26 meeting, the Foundation’s board of directors also elected six new members. Way said new members are usually elected twice a year when the full board meets.

In addition to regular donors, the Foundation has a “Circle of Excellence,” which is comprised of donors who have donated $10,000 or more, Way said.

“It recognizes our most generous donors over a lifetime.”