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Annual faculty-staff giving campaign launched

Nov. 1, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University officially kicks off its 2007-08 faculty and staff giving campaign today.

Called "We Are Western: The 2007-08 Faculty/Staff Campaign for WMU," it seeks to increase by 50 percent the number of employees who donate to the University this fiscal year.

The faculty and staff fund-raising drive, which is spearheaded by the WMU Annual Fund each year, has the potential to benefit the entire University because donors may designate their gifts to any area or areas they wish.

"I think that is one of the most commonly misunderstood things about faculty and staff giving," says Suzanne Beals, director of the WMU Annual Fund. "We are often asked, 'Does my gift to WMUK Radio count toward the faculty and staff campaign?' and the answer is, yes. The same goes for gifts to the Gary Fund, and any other area that supports the University."

Beals says increasing participation in the faculty and staff campaign is important because many donors and prospective students view it as a gauge of how well WMU employees support the University's mission and students.

In addition, she notes that WMU employs many of its alumni, and alumni employees who participate in the campaign are counted toward the alumni participation totals that U.S. News and World Report uses as part of its criteria for ranking colleges and universities.

Steve Macomber, staff chair for the "We Are Western" campaign, adds that he and many others have a more personal reason for giving back to the University.

"I'm often asked why I give to WMU," says Macomber, a maintenance services technician who has been a WMU employee for nine years. "The most compelling reason is that my employment and association with WMU has made a significant difference in my life as well as the lives of my family members. Through giving, I can help others in a similar and positive way. Giving is also a way to establish a stronger connection with the University."

Beals says numerous WMU employees already regularly support specific travel abroad programs, research activities, internships and other initiatives that strengthen the overall University community. She reports that last fiscal year in fact, 97 percent of the funds raised through the faculty and staff campaign were restricted to particular colleges and programs.

"It's wonderful to know that when our faculty and staff see the funding needs within their departments or other departments on campus, they're ready to step up and financially support them," Beals says. "Providing that kind of support creates many opportunities for our students that they would not otherwise have."

Information regarding "We Are Western" will be sent soon to employees through campus mail as well as e-mail. Gifts that count toward this year's campaign may be made through the WMU Foundation's secure online site at www.wmich.edu/foundation/gift. All faculty and staff contributions received through June 30, 2008, will be recognized as gifts to "We Are Western."

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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