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UWRF seeks supplemental funds

February 4, 2010

The UW-River Falls Foundation is launching a capital campaign this spring, the first ever capital campaign in the Foundation’s 59-year existence at UWRF.

Dan McGinty, the interim executive director of the university advancement and interim president of the UW-River Falls Foundation, said “The purpose of this campaign is to raise a specific amount of money over a defined period of time that will support a wide array of initiatives that are aligned with the university’s strategic plan.” This campaign will help supplement traditional funding sources, such as state tax dollars, tuition and grants.

According to McGinty, the Foundation believes now is the time for this campaign. “As state funding decreases and tuition continues to rise, we need to strengthen private support to remain financially secure and competitive with our peer institutions,” said McGinty.

This campaign will benefit the entire campus community, according to McGinty. The campaign will help provide much-needed funds for University priorities that may include scholarships, faculty, staff and student development, globalization, leadership and development. It will also strengthen UWRF and Foundation programs, attract new donors and will help build regional, national and international networks.

UWRF’s Growth Agenda Report states a two percent growth rate over the next ten years. By 2017, the University is expected to provide for a 22 percent increase in students. This means a colossal deficit of space affecting laboratories, classrooms, offices, parking and residence halls. According to the UWRF Growth Agenda Report, in 2011 there will be 2,709 students needing a dorm room, but there will only be 2,536 rooms available. This leaves 171 students without a room. By 2017 that number will increase to 513 students without a room.

The capital campaign will take roughly five to seven years to complete, just when UWRF is expected to outgrow itself. UWRF is working with Bentz Whaley Flessner Consultants, a Minneapolis-based development company, for this task. This company has had successful capital campaigns with the University of Hartford, Mississippi State University, Ducks Unlimited and Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.

The first thing to do when launching a capital campaign is to conduct a readiness audit. A readiness audit is when a consultant comes in and looks at an institution’s fundraising programs and sees if they are ready to launch a major capital campaign. They will conduct interviews and evaluate how all the pieces like operations and staffing will work most efficiently together, according to Rachel Hurlbert, the Chief Operating Officer at Bentz Whaley Flessner.

The consultant will also review UWRF’s past and current fundraising, alumni relations and external communication programs, according to McGinty. The anticipated outcome of this audit is to produce recommendations that will improve UWRF’s fundraising program results and work with the advancement office to implement proven philanthropic strategies.

The Foundation has not yet set a fundraising goal amount and still has a few steps to complete before a final campaign goal is decided upon. But, according to McGinty, the works are in motion for a capital campaign that will help improve the campus community for the long run.