'We Are Phil' kicks off next week


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The We Are Phil faculty and staff campaign for giving saw huge improvements in its first year. Now in its second, the campaign will try to achieve some goals early.

The campaign encouraging faculty and staff at the University of Iowa to give to the UI Foundation will begin Oct. 13 and run through Oct. 17. The week has more than 60 events planned by volunteers from most UI colleges and departments.

The events are put on by volunteers but receive help from the UI Foundation, which provides marketing materials, party supplies, and donation boxes at the events.

Jen Knights, the assistant director of campus philanthropy for the UI Foundation, said that the campaign has been successful in large part by simply asking those who hadn’t heard of the program before.

“Many [donors] hadn’t been asked before,” she said. “Some aren’t away that private giving has a place in a public university.”

Last year, the Tippie College of Business had a 91 percent rate of donation to the program, something Joyce Ruplinger, the chief financial officer for Tippie, said is due to the effects workers can see on their own personal level.

“As the budget officer, I see all of the benefits the college reaps from the generosity of the donors,” she said.

The program launched last year saw a 26 percent increase in faculty and staff donations to bring the total raised by UI faculty and staff to around $4.5 million.

The total number of UI faculty and staff giving to the program rose above 3,000 during the last fiscal year, and Knights says they hope to keep increasing that number with We Are Phil week occurring next week.

She said that their original goal was to reach a total of 18 percent total participation by fiscal 2016, but after jumping 3.5 percentage points to 17, Knights has high hopes for this year’s campaign.

Renea Jay, the Tippie Ph.D. program coordinator and a part of this year’s steering committee for the college’s We Are Phil events, said the college has a variety of events planned during the week to keep staff participation in donation high.

A summer intern for the UI Foundation and UI student Kate McKenzie said that philanthropy for the university and the We Are Phil campaign can show the passion faculty and staff have for students at the UI.

“It’s important for faculty to show that they are about their students,” she said.

McKenzie said that even she gave back at the end of her summer internship because of all the potential and opportunities the UI provides.

Despite the high barrier set by last year’s faculty and staff at Tippie, she said they could potentially improve.

“We hope to reach or get slightly higher over that goal again this year,” she said.

Knights said that Tippie is a very good example of this year’s goal for the program, which is their campus-wide focus on participation of any amount to any program, which can influence some people to donate.

“For a lot of people it’s more meaningful to gift elsewhere in the university, but donations can go to any department people choose,” she said.

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