Keep on Giving

UVI Annual Giving Is At It Again

ELISA THOMAS|

ST. THOMAS – The University of the Virgin Islands’ Annual Giving campaign is on a record-setting pace for their 2013 alumni contribution fund-raising drive. UVI hopes to be the first Historically Black College or University to have a 50 percent alumni giving rate.

“I am confident! I am very, very confident, that we will achieve the 50 percent” Linda Smith, director of the Annual Giving and Alumni Affairs, said. “The alums have stepped up. They’re gifts have been in record numbers; they have surpassed last year as well.”

Smith is a two-time UVI alumna and has spearheaded the fund-raising campaign since 2008.

“The goal is to surpass the 42 percent yes, but then the annual fund goal of $3.4 million we are well on our way with that also,” Smith said. “It tells me about the passion that the alums have and they are very much in support of their hometown university.”

One such passionate alumnus gave his reason as to why he contributed.

“I believe that everyone should give back to their alma mater,” Sheldon Turnbull, 1992 alumnus, said.  “Your alma mater is what contributed to your success.”

Last year, the university took on the challenge presented by UVI’s President Dr. David Hall to reach a goal of a 50 percent alumni giving rate and fell short by a mere 8 points. Within nine months, the alumni giving rate improved from 13 percent to 42 percent.

This year, UVI is at 46 percent with four days in the campaign remaining.

According to Smith, UVI is 1 percentage point higher than South Carolina’s Claflin University’s 45 percent that lead the nation at the same time last year.

UVI used a series of solicitation strategies toward achieving these goals including:

  • Traveling to various islands,  such as Tortola, the BVI, St. Kitts, West Indies and Nevis, seeking alumni support from the strong alumni contingent.
  • Soliciting at the VI Agricultural Fair, the World Food Day Celebration on St. Croix and the VI Carnival Cultural Fair on St. Thomas.
  • Hosting the Alumni “Phonathon” where faculty, staff, students, alumni and other volunteers called alumni to raise funds.

The phonathon was the final solicitation event where for the first time there were call centers on both the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses.

“The Alumni Phonathon was held from Monday, Sept. 23 to Wednesday, Sept. 25,” Astrid Tuitt an administrative assistant in the Development office of Institutional Advancement said, “We usually have it until Thursday, but what happened is we have a company that is outsourced by the name of RuffaloCODY and they have been making calls to Reichhold patrons, alumni, special alumni and UVI friends.”

A greater incentive arose when a donor agreed to donate $10,000 to the university if his 50 percent alumni giving rate was achieved.

Smith said that the University is just 250 alumni contributors short of meeting its milestone.

Donations are to be used where requested by the patron. The monies can fund scholarships and various university programs.

Interested parties can donate online at www.uvi,edu  until Sept 30.

A patron donating $100 or more receives the “Proud We Are” collector’s edition of the UVI historical publication and is automatically entered to win two season passes to the Reichhold Center for The Arts.

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