Campaign celebrates and encourages faculty, staff and retiree giving

Featured photo
Sheryl Garland, vice president for health policy and community relations, VCU Health

From April 4 to May 15, Virginia Commonwealth University will run a universitywide faculty, staff and retiree giving campaign. All VCU and VCU Health employees, as well as those who have retired from VCU, are encouraged to participate by giving any amount, which they can direct toward a specific school or scholarship fund. The gift can be given as a one-time donation online, as a payroll deduction or can be mailed via check.

The goal is not to raise a targeted number of dollars, but to demonstrate support for the university through simple involvement. “The overall goal is participation,” said Thomas C. Burke, executive director of the VCU Foundation. “When we talk to alumni, corporations and foundations, the question they ask is, ‘Do faculty and staff support the institution?’ Sometimes they want a number.”

The campaign will enable VCU to provide that number. VCU faculty, staff and retirees can participate in the campaign by making a gift of any amount, with each donation serving as measurable proof that VCU is one of the best possible investments for a potential donor’s philanthropic support.

Scott Witthaus from VCU Alumni on Vimeo.

VIDEO : Scott Witthaus

Scott Witthaus, professor of film/technology at VCU Brandcenter, is a longtime donor who directs his gifts to the Brandcenter’s General Scholarship Fund.

I received my undergrad degree from VCU in 1981, so I also felt it important to support my school.

“I give via payroll deduction — totally painless! — because the cost of a college education is getting so high that we are losing potentially great VCU students, as they simply can't afford to go,” Witthaus said. “I started giving soon after being recruited to the faculty of the VCU Brandcenter. It just seemed like the right thing to do and was an easy way to give back and say thank you.  I received my undergrad degree from VCU in 1981, so I also felt it important to support my school.”

As part of the campaign, VCU Health faculty and staff members can give via payroll deduction for the first time. Sheryl Garland, vice president for health policy and community relations, VCU Health, has been giving to VCU for almost 30 years.

“After graduation from the M.H.A. program in 1988, class members were asked to make a contribution,” Garland said. “While it has taken me awhile to truly appreciate the value of the educational experience and the importance of ‘paying forward’ to give others a similar opportunity, over the years I have developed a deeper understanding of why this concept is so important. An important legacy of VCU is to provide first-generation college students the opportunity to receive a quality education in a thriving university environment … I cannot think of a better way to ‘Make it real’ than to give back and make it thrive!”

For faculty, staff and retirees who have already given this financial year, which runs July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016, those gifts will count toward the participation total. For those who have not yet given, there are three options: an online form for one-time donations, an online form to set up payroll deductions or a check can be mailed along with a printout of this form to VCU Gifts and Records Management, P.O. Box 843042, Richmond, VA 23284. Gifts are 100 percent tax-deductible as charitable donations, though staff and faculty members are advised not to donate to funds they administer.

“We generally have great faculty support, but we’ve never had a campaign that will tell us the numbers,” said Burke, who is looking forward to seeing participation levels rise over the next six weeks. “This faculty, staff and retiree campaign will help us to show we’re all in it together and we support the university.”

VIDEO : Through these Doors.

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