Campus fund drive short of goal as deadline nears

Campus fund drive short of goal as deadline nears

URBANA – The impact of furloughs and staff cuts at the University of Illinois continues to ripple across campus, apparently affecting donations to charity.

The annual Campus Charitable Fund Drive is about 10 percent short of its $1.4 million goal, with the deadline for donations just over a week away.

So far, the campaign has raised about $1.255 million, just under 90 percent of the goal, according to Tary Finefield of the UI chancellor's office, who tracks the numbers. The campaign began Sept. 21 and officially ended Nov. 12, but donations will be accepted through Dec. 10, she said.

"We're down quite a bit" from last year, said Professor Nick Glumac, vice chair of the drive's advisory board.

Campaign officials blame the struggling economy and the departure of employees through the UI's voluntary separation and early retirement programs, both implemented as part of budget cuts. In some cases, employees prefer to give on their own, rather than through workplace drives, Finefield added.

"We lost some donors," Finefield said Tuesday. "I don't know how many, but I really think that it's going to impact our bottom line."

Employees who took early retirement may have been better able to give, with more experience and higher incomes than younger employees, she said. And many of those who stayed saw their incomes cut through mandatory furloughs.

"It doesn't appear so much that people are giving less, although some are, but that we're losing donors. It may be a combination of both," Glumac said.

The goal for the campaign hasn't been increased for two years because of the economy, Finefield said.

None of this was good news for Lyn Jones, president and chief executive officer for the United Way of Champaign County, which funds about 55 programs run by 35 nonprofit agencies.

The universitys campaign is the biggest source of donations for the United Way's annual fund drive, generating more than $600,000 of the $3.2 million raised last year, Jones said. UI donors can direct payroll deductions to 11 charitable federations or agencies, including the United Way and Community Shares of Illinois.

"It's not good for the community," Jones said of the UI totals.

The United Way's campaign kicked off in early September, but "it's very hard to predict where we're going to be until we know what happens" at the university, Jones said Tuesday.

Her agency works every spring to "recapture" donors who, for whatever reason, have chosen not to renew their pledges.

"Sometimes we get some of those back on board, maybe not at quite the same level, but we get them back nonetheless," Jones said. "We're going to have to really work our tails off in the spring. We won't stop fundraising until the end of the fiscal year (June 30)."

Other charities are feeling the impact of the economy in their year-end fund drives, said Glumac, professor of mechanical science and engineering.

The message he's pushed with UI employees: Donations are needed more than ever during tough economic times.

"When the economy is bad, the people at the bottom are suffering the worst," he said. "We're trying to redouble our efforts to produce as much as we can to help the community."

A spokeswoman for the State and University Employees' Combined Appeal, which includes other universities and state agencies, said totals for that drive won't be released until mid-January.

"We prefer to wait until we have everything in and the process is completed," said Alka Nayyar, spokeswoman for Central Management Services.

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cherokee2602 wrote on December 01, 2010 at 10:12 am

Well maybe not getting a raise for 3 years and not getting a decent raise for 5+ years might have something to do with it! So my suggestion would be to all the administrators who got the big raises to shell more out!

Utowner wrote on December 01, 2010 at 11:12 am

Very well put. There is some delusion in the community that UIUC workers are well-paid. Most of us are not. Browse the salary guide and see that most of us make less than private sector workers and have to pay for increases in health insurance and things considered frills at UIUC such as parking. Instead people fixate on the few 100K plus salaries without realizing those of us on the front lines aren't getting rich, but are simply getting by like everyone else. This is just another example of how insane it is for anyone in the CU community to argue for funding cuts for the UI system. Trust me, any savings will be far outweighed by the loss of income in this community which is directly visible in this article....

Janet wrote on December 01, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Yeah, when I read, "When the economy is bad, the people at the bottom are suffering the worst," I thought they were talking about me, as to why staff members don't donate. On a related note, as I've been subjected to ethics training each year and know I can suffer greatly by using my e-mail for political purposes, or being too close to a job candidate, I've wondered how the University can justify such a bold faced solicitation for money, and involving the time of staff members to twist our arms, even passively. I donate, but not to the United Way.

Fedupwithstatereps wrote on December 01, 2010 at 2:12 pm

This is what happens when the state doesn't pay it obligations to the university. No one wins. We can't afford to give more, let alone any in some cases, when there have been no raises for 3+ years now and have cut and cut our budgets beyond the bone. The MAJORITY of UI employees are NOT overpaid. Just the highest of the high in admin and of course many in the athletic department, which is independant of the UI so it doesn't have to share money. How about giving a % or ticket sales back to the UI library or other departments that are hurting so badly?

tellingthetruth wrote on December 01, 2010 at 3:12 pm

AMEN... the University BOT just approved a $30K raise for The Director of Utilities and Energy Services for Facilities and Services, for a job that he already had but received a new title for. How is that justified? I can't believe a raise like that was approved, yet non-negoiated civil service employees haven't received raises in 2+ years. While I'm thankful I have a job, I refuse to feel bad that the University didn't meet their "charitable goal" this year.

cherokee2602 wrote on December 01, 2010 at 4:12 pm

If the U of I doesn't have any money for raises then why are some administrators getting huge raises! We have a person where I work that got an $18,000 raise and gets the buyout next year also! I'm tired of double standards at the U of I! No money yeah right!

thechampaignlife wrote on December 02, 2010 at 8:12 am

I agree. Let Prez Hogan make up the shortfall out of his $200K+ raise over his predecessor. There's no money for raises yet numbers 2 and 4 up my org chart both got 6% raises last year. The President's office gets a 50% raise. How about a director reporting to another director? Where is this money magically coming from in tight times? How can use front line staff do anything about this irresponsibleness? We need to unionize everyone making under $50K and professors making under $100K, even if you're already in another union, to strike until we get some say in new hire and raise/promotion salary decisions. I don't even need a raise myself, although some sort of recognition for my contributions would be nice, but we're too top heavy and wasting taxpayer dollars with all this administrative bloat.