During the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s inaugural Family Campaign in February, Rachel George sent an impassioned plea to her colleagues to donate.
“I love our college. I love the people, the students, and I love watching newbies come through and go all the way to doctoral degrees. Sometimes they need monetary help to make that happen,” she wrote.
George, the clinical coordinator for the College of Nursing’s doctoral program, will serve as one of the college’s campaign captains during UTHSC’s second Family Campaign September 1–30. The philanthropic campaign encourages faculty and staff members to give to the university in support of its mission of transforming lives through collaborative and inclusive education, research/scholarship, clinical care, and public service. Employees can make a financial gift of any size and in any area important to them.
When George sent her letter during last fiscal year’s Family Campaign, the College of Nursing was at 33% of its participation goal. While her competitive nature played a part in her wanting to garner more participation, her own college experience was another driving force behind her desire to raise funds for the College of Nursing.
“I was the first in my family to attend college. I was the only one so far that has attended and graduated with a degree, in my immediate family,” she wrote. “I never would have been able to afford nursing school without the help I received along the way.”
Since joining the college, George has made giving one of her priorities. She now donates every month, and she gets to choose where the money is earmarked. It’s just one way she demonstrates her dedication to making the college and the university the best they can be.
“My personal goal at UTHSC is to help prepare students across all backgrounds to become the best health care leaders of our future, and that takes knowledge, patience, skill, and money,” she said. “We have an abundance of everything except the last, but with help from our donors, we can have that, too.”
The first Family Campaign raised money from a total of 620 donors, which was well above the original goal of 500. This time, the goal has been raised to 600 donors across all six colleges. All participants in the campaign, including donors who have given at any time during this fiscal year beginning July 1, will receive a pair of UTHSC socks. The campaign has been moved from February to September to distance it from Giving Day, the university’s other large fundraising campaign, which is held in the spring.
Last fiscal year’s Family Campaign played a part in a significant uptick in fundraising for the university. From December to March, the UTHSC advancement team increased fundraising by more than 331% and surpassed the year-end fundraising target. The momentum in advancement took place under the leadership of Charles “Charley” Deal, PhD, who served as the interim vice chancellor for Advancement. Brigitte Grant, who took over as vice chancellor for Advancement in May, hopes to continue the upward trajectory through all fundraising efforts, including the Family Campaign.
“We know from our external donor community the financial support our employees commit to the university says a great deal about the investment of those closest to the mission,” Grant said. To show her dedication and to encourage donations from her team, Grant has committed to matching each gift made by one of her team members, up to $50 per staff member.
According to UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD, giving to the campaign not only enables more resources for the students, faculty, and institution, but it also serves as a sign of the commitment of the university’s employees. “It is an endorsement of our mission, our values, and of our noble new vision: Healthy Tennesseans. Thriving Communities,” he said.
The campus is invited to a celebration of the Family Campaign September 20, from 8:30 to 11 a.m., in the Mooney Library. Additional information and giving links can be found at giving.uthsc.edu/familycampaign.