By now you’ve probably seen his familiar face. He’s the one in the baseball cap. The one who envisions a bright future for UMass Boston and sees philanthropy as the way we can get there. He is Professor of Anthropology Tim Sieber. Tim served as the public face for giving for the UMass Boston Fund’s Faculty Staff Giving campaign last year.
A poster with his message, “I support UMass Boston because I know my gift is helping create the bright future we all envision” appeared throughout campus and on the Crystal buses. Tim became familiar to a lot of us. He was on hand to celebrate the university’s first ever Philanthropy Week last week and shared what it was like being the face of philanthropy. It brought him a lot of pleasure, especially when he’d bump into someone while getting coffee. “Don’t I know you,?” the person would ask.
That was Tim’s opening to say, “yes, you do.” Why? He would go on to explain, that they had seen him on a poster. “I am a donor to the university who is representing the UMass Boston Fund.” But what’s more, it gave him the chance to tell that person why he loves the university and why charitable support of its mission is key to our growth.
As Steve Crosby, dean of the McCormack Graduate School says, we are really a quasi-public university with only about 1/4 of our revenue coming from the Commonwealth.
If we are ever going to be one of the great publics, like those to our west, private investment is essential. Tim is one of 250 or 12.5% of faculty and staff who, in addition to their enormous professional contributions, take one step further and make an annual gift to the UMass Boston Fund.
This year, as part of our new tradition of Philanthropy Week, we gave birth to a Student Philanthropy Council and fifty students joined Tim and his fellow faculty and staff and made gifts to the UMass Boston Fund.
Those students and 950 others also visited a special event table and drafted hand-written thank you notes to 1,000 of the university’s donors. Some of the students went one step beyond and participated in a special thank you video to donors. The Student Philanthropy Council will continue its efforts to promote student giving and next spring will meet to determine the designation for their funds.
Liliana Mickle, special assistant to the vice provost for academic services and undergraduate studies, will be this year’s UMass Boston Fund “poster girl.” So when you see that poster or receive a letter from her which reveal why she supports UMass Boston both professionally and financially, we hope you will be motivated to join her.
People can make charitable gifts anywhere:
here’s why your investment to public higher education “reaches higher.”
Nan Cormier is director of advancement communications.