Phil's Day celebrates philanthropic efforts to the UI

BY KRISTEN EAST | APRIL 24, 2012 6:30 AM

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One of the first things Hilery Livengood did after completing a master's in journalism was make a contribution to the organization that boosted her career.

"I was just out of grad school and shouldn't have made a gift, but I felt like The Daily Iowan had had such an impact on my life," she said. "I made a four-year pledge, and I was just thinking to myself, 'Please God, let me make enough money to pay this off.' "

Livengood — a 1989 University of Iowa graduate — is among many whose contributions will be celebrated today during Phil's Day. The annual event allows UI faculty, staff, students, and alumni to recognize the philanthropic efforts that contribute to the university.

The UI Foundation organizes such philanthropic efforts and private gifts. The Daily Iowan previously reported the UI Foundation received $213,994,660 in private gift support in fiscal 2011.

"Phil's Day is a terrific opportunity for the UI Foundation to highlight philanthropy on our campus," said Rich Wretman, the UI Foundation's vice president of main campus development. "Private gifts touch the lives of every student, faculty, and staff each day, and we want to be sure to celebrate that."

Livengood, who worked at the UI Foundation for more than seven years as director of web strategies, said a lot of crossover occurs between journalists and those who work for philanthropic organizations.

"With philanthropy, you're telling stories or illustrating impacts and working with people who are trying to tell their story or decide what their legacy is," she said.

One official from the Council on Foundations praised the UI's efforts and said it's especially important for students to learn about how philanthropy affects their campus and community.

"I think the opportunity to learn about philanthropy from a very young age is very constructive," said John Showalter, the council's public-affairs manager. "Students have an enormous opportunity to learn about philanthropy and how it's using private resources for public good to effect change in society."

In addition to her four-year pledge following graduate school, Livengood, 44, continues to make donations each year. The Cedar Rapids native spent two years at the DI, working as a reporter and a University Editor from 1987 to 1989.

"[The Daily Iowan] is a place where you learned, where I became more confident in my skills," she said. "I'm more than happy to support something that was really important in my life and changed who I am."

Livengood recently designated a portion of her estate to set up a scholarship in her name for DI students.

Livengood said it's ultimately her and others' responsibility to ensure current and future generations of students have more than they did.

"People provided opportunities for us, and I think it's incumbent on us to make sure that continues," she said.

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