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University’s mission aided by record numbers in donations

February 4, 2010

UW-River Falls took in a record $2.4 million in donations last year, adding to The Fund for UW-River Falls.

The Fund is an unrestricted fund used to support the mission of the University, which is to help students learn. According to the University Web site, the unrestricted fund allows the UW-River Falls Foundation the flexibility to apply funds immediately to areas of greatest need, including faculty and student research grants, curriculum and technology upgrades, and supporting the admissions program to recruit a diverse group of outstanding students to campus.

The Fund also supports the University magazine, Falcon Features, which is sent to alumni and University friends to provide them with current information about the campus and alumni stories.

According to Dan McGinty, Interim President of UW-River Falls Foundation, last year’s donations were attained from a wide variety of sources including the telethon calling programs, direct mail solicitations, electronic solicitations, face-to-face solicitations, estate gifts, private foundations and matching fit companies.

The donations primarily come from alumni, former students and friends of the University, faculty, staff, parents, corporations and organizations. With over 37,000 alumni living in the United States, the generous gifts come from far and wide. Despite being in a recession, the $2.4 million was a record amount of donations.

“One of the main reasons that it was a record year was because we received a million dollar gift from the estate of Willis Miller,” McGinty said. “Sometimes an estate gift can skew your dollars raised in any given year.”

Chancellor Dean Van Galen said he is happy with last year’s gifts.

“It is wonderful that we enjoyed such a strong year in donations to UWRF. A large share of last year’s support was designated for student scholarships, and much of that from the estate gift from Mr. Willis Miller,” he said. “Charitable gifts to the UWRF Foundation from our alumni and friends are deeply appreciated and will play a more significant role in our University’s future.”

McGinty said the donations will be used for scholarships, facility projects, special projects, faculty, staff and student development, undergraduate research, teaching excellence, operational support and to fund where the need is greatest.

The UW-River Falls Foundation has been offering students scholarships for over 60 years, according to the Foundation’s Web site. The University was able to offer 630 scholarships with the gifts received in 2008-2009.

The University offers many ways for alumni to stay connected to River Falls and fellow alumni, including a Web site which offers an option to find alumni in one’s area, a Facebook group, magazine, electronic newsletter and the Falcon Action Network (FAN), which is open to anyone committed to advocating for UWRF to Wisconsin’s decision-makers.

The University accepts gifts in the form of cash, credit, monthly electronic fund transfers, securities and stock gifts, memorial and tribute gifts and faculty and staff giving.

Each University in the UW System varies in the total gifts received, as the size of the staff, the number of alumni that are solicited, whether or not the University is in a comprehensive campaign and the timing of when planned gifts are received have an impact on the fundraising results for any given year, according to McGinty.