UH celebrates its supporters
Thursday marks UH Philanthropy Awareness Day, which dedicated to celebrating everyone who made it possible for the campus to function.
Students are invited to attend the event from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Lynn Eusan Park to learn about philanthropy, enjoy free refreshments, win prizes and say thank you to the people who have donated to UH.
“Philanthropy Awareness Day is a day celebrating all the gifts that every donor has made to our University,” said UH Associate Director of Annual Giving Michelle Bair. “The big red bows around campus, like the ones at the library, indicate that donations make that building possible. All gifts, regardless of amount, are important.”
Only 22 percent of funds from Texas made up the budget for UH in 2012, according to the Student Philanthropy website. Another 42 percent of the UH budget was supported through student fees and tuition. The other 36 percent must be received through donations, in order for the campus to function.
“We had $4.1 million in donations last year,” Bair said. “Even computers with internet access at the library are funded through gifts. Partnerships with corporations such as M.D. Anderson and Hilton Hotels and Resorts make up part of the campus.”
UH alumni also make up a portion of donors. The Cougar Graduation Challenge is open to all graduating seniors in an effort to give a gift back. Students who participate in the challenge with a $15 donation or more are given a Cougar Spirit Cord to wear at their graduation ceremony to show their generosity.
“In December 2012, 23 percent of graduating seniors took part in the Cougar Graduation Challenge,” Bair said. “That’s the highest percentage on record.”
Though some students may not be able to afford large monetary donations, even the smallest gift is beneficial to the future of UH.
“Gifts can vary from $1 to $500. And gifts can also be specific,” Bair said. “Donations can be given to certain departments and colleges. Scholarships can also be funded in parts. One scholarship can be made by several different donors.”
The amount of donations given by alumni is taken into consideration for university rankings.
According to the Student Philanthropy website, nationally competitive universities hold an alumni donation rate of at least 15 percent. In 2011, UH had an alumni donation rate of just more than 10 percent while Rice had a rate of almost 35 percent.
But with help from fellow Cougars, donations are rolling in. The class of 2016 donated spare change to the Coog Cents Program and has raised more than $1,000.
“All gifts are important,” Bair said. “Whether a donation is in money, time or resources, small gifts equal big change.”