While the Michigan football team strives to be “the champions of the West” each Saturday, the University is also making an effort to move west to fundraise for its next capital campaign.

Jerry May, the University’s vice president for development, spoke to the Senate Assembly yesterday about the past and future of philanthropic giving at the University. Following the Michigan Difference campaign that raised 3.2 billion dollars from 2004 to 2009, he said the University is gearing up for its next major capital campaign by focusing on attracting donors from the West Coast.

May spoke about the past and future of philanthropic giving at the University. Following the Michigan Difference campaign that raised 3.2 billion dollars, he said the University is gearing up for its next big fundraising campaign.

The campaign is in the planning stages and will begin in a few years. He said it will seek to raise more money than the Michigan Difference campaign, calling the program “regular fundraising on steroids.”

Despite the success of the previous campaign, many other schools such as Stanford — which raised a record $6.2 billion in its latest campaign — are out-competing the University for donations. With a growing concentration of new wealth on the West Coast, May said having development officers in that region to court mega-donors is crucial.

“If we’re not out there … they’re giving to Stanford,” May said. “The competition is out there, and they are working hard to make their universities great.”

May said raising money in an environment with decreasing state allocations is crucial to securing the University’s future, adding that only $268 million out of the annual $1.55 billion University general fund is from the state.

May said donations generally come from a combination of estate pledges, faculty members, charitable foundations, small donors — those that give under $25,000 — and mega-donors that provide more than $10 million.

He said the recent economic downturn didn’t have a large impact on University’s fundraising, noting that only 30 gift agreements out of thousands were restructured. He added he expects the University to increase the amount of money it raises in the coming years.

“I fully expect that we are going to climb back up to $300 or $400 million (in the amount of money raised) in the coming decade,” he said.

Another focus of the Office of Development is to increase student awareness about the impact donations can have on their collegiate experience, May added.

“We want students to realize that private support is making a huge difference in people’s lives,” May said.

He added that students should gain a sense of responsibility to donate to the University after they graduate.

“We’re trying to get our students to get that sense here,” May said. “We want (to make sure that) those 11,000 students who are here on private scholarship support are benefiting from someone who came before them.”

SACUA elects three new members

Three new members were also elected to three-year terms on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.

During the meeting, Astronomy Prof. Sally Oey, Dentistry Prof. Graham Rex Holland and Scott Masten, a professor of business economics and public policy, were all elected to positions on the committee.

In his candidate statement, Masten, who received the highest number of votes, said faculty government functions best when it halts poorly developed initiatives. He specifically cited his efforts to stop performance-based faculty pay when he served on several Senate Assembly committees over the past decade.

“I think we are more effective in faculty governance at stopping really bad policies and actions than we are (in) promoting positive initiatives,” Masten said.

Masten added that he hopes SACUA will increase its efforts to be a responsible governing body by making sure the campus community is aware of the committee’s efforts.

“(We should) hold people accountable and increase transparency,” he said.

Oey echoed Masten, and said she wants to increase clarity in University governance.

“I have an appreciation for transparency,” Oey said in her candidate statement. “Mutual trust and mutual interest in working toward a common goal is essential.”

Holland commented that University administrators have become increasingly guarded.

“I strongly support the idea of faculty governance because that is what has made the University distinctive, but that, unfortunately, is slowly being eroded,” he said. “There is an increase in secrecy … and that’s absolute nonsense.”

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