The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Foundation raises private funds for centennial

Between student tuition, state money, grants, etc., there are a lot of ways UW-Eau Claire makes money.

Plenty comes from the aforementioned, but one fundraising strategy is fixing to make a $60 million chunk for the university by 2016 through private gifts and donations alone.  To put that number in perspective, the new W.R. Davies Center cost $48.8 million.

The Power of Possible is a fundraising campaign put on by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, a “independent organization that helps alumni, friends and donors provide support for academic, cultural and professional programs at UW-Eau Claire that aren’t possible through state funds and tuition alone,” according to the Foundation’s website.

“The UW-Eau Claire Foundation is the legally recognized body to solicit, receive, manage and disperse private gifts for the university’s benefit,” said Kimera Way, President of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. “We’ve been at this for over 50 years, supporting the university.”

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UW-Eau Claire turns 100 in 2016, and to celebrate, the Foundation announced the Power of Possible campaign as an opportune time to leverage their relationship with some big donors to give their gifts or promise them, Way said.

Donations received in the campaign and apart from it can be designated or undesignated. Designated donations mean the
donor chooses how the money is to be used, whereas undesignated donations are put in the Excellence Fund.

The Excellence Fund supports nearly $597,000 each year in student scholarships as well as helps out things like student/faculty research, international study, faculty awards and the University Honors Program.

The majority of gifts are designated, but sometimes donors like Foundation Board Chair JoAnne Brandes make their donations undesignated on purpose.

“The foundation and the university do a very good job prioritizing what their needs are,” Brandes said.  “I’m just happy to contribute generally and have them determine what their needs are.”

Brandes went to Eau Claire from 1971 to 1974 and studied Journalism and Political Science before going to law school on the east coast at Willamette University College of Law in Oregon. Back then, she said private contributions weren’t as important to a state school like Eau Claire, but the state allocation was around 80 percent of Eau Claire’s budget. Now, it’s less than 20 percent.

She said she owes much of her success to her time at Eau Claire, and that’s why she donates.

“I don’t think I would’ve had a chance to go to college if I hadn’t had a scholarship,” Brandes said.  “It launched a great career and a great life.  I’m very, very proud of the university and I want to give back anyway I can.”

Way said the Power of Possible campaign has already raised around $28 million in pledges — almost half their goal — and hopes to achieve their goal, and then some.

Previous to this, Way said the Foundation ran a campaign from 2001 to 2007 calledFulfilling the Promise of Excellence with a goal of $35 million, and it made over $54 million.

Brandes said that students should consider donating after they graduate because it’s a big part of the way Eau Claire interacts with the betterment of its students and its reputation.

“The reputation of a university goes beyond when you’re a student there,” Brandes said. “It continues and has a big impact on your life throughout.”

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Foundation raises private funds for centennial