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September 10, 1999 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-10

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20 The Michigan Daily - Friday,September 10,_1999


By Michael Grass and N
Daily Staff Reportc

LSA senior Azibo Stevens speaks over the phone with a University alum at Telefund's office on Church Street last night.


University alumni, fans and friends
show loyalty with their checkbooks


omorrow, thousands of football
fans will jam area expressways
leading into Ann Ar or. Even
though they'll most likely be stuck
in traffic for up to an hour, if they
look into cars around them, they may
see a familiar sight.
Michigan fans are easy to spot -
decked out in maize and blue, with
hats, face paint, jerseys and ,M'
sweatshirts -- Wolverine pride is
self evident.
And although they may be in town
only for the football game,
University alumni and friends show
their allegiance year-round.
It is this loyalty that University
Vice President for Development
Susan Feagin said intrigues'"her.
"The University is such a large
institution and vet so many ... feel
such a strongz bond;" Feagin said.
And part oT that bond includes giv-
ing back to the University in dollars
and cents.
The big bucks
This summer, a former student gave back in
a big way - $30 million.
But A. Alfred Taubman doesn't like the
term "giving back." The former University
architecture student turned shopping mall
mogul said that his $30-million donation to
the University's College of Architecture and
Urban Planning this summer was an "opportu-
Taubman has a vision .for the future of the
architecture and urban planning programs at
the University.
"I want the University of Michigan to have
the best architecture school in the country
....That is my goal," he said.
His gift is the largest given to any architec-
ture school in the nation to date and it is his
largest gift to the University.
Prior to this donation, Taubman contributed
millions toward the construction of the
Taubman Medical Library and the A. Alfred
Taubman Health Care Center.
In a unanimous decision from the University
Board of Regents in June, the College of
Architecture and Urban Planning was renamed
in Taubman's honor.
His gift, which will be endowed, came with
no strings attached.
Taubman said he hopes the best faculty and
students from around the world will come to
Ann Arbor to become part of the University.
"I have great faith in the University,"
Taubman said.
College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Dean Douglas Kelbaugh said the decision to
use the funds on faculty and student recruit-
ment, rather than bricks and mortar, will ulti-
mately pay for full tuition scholarships for 20
in-state and 20 out-of-state students.
Kelbaugh said Taubman's donation will
allow the school to "do what we do now, but
do it better.".
Because a portion of the money will be used
to attract the best and brightest students and
faculty in the field, the gift will bolster exist-
ing programs.
Taubman is the founder and
chair of The Taubman

facilities, like the Beverly Center in Los
Angeles and the Biltmore Fashion Park in
Phoenix. 'The company also runs several
Metro Detroit complexes, including Great
Lakes Crossing in Auburn -ills and Twelve
Oaks Mall in Novi.
Although Taubman did not graduate from
the University, he was awarded with an hon-
orary doctor of laws degree in 1991.
Even in the economic prosperity of the
1990s, Taubman said "there is never enough
But Wolverine donors stand out from the
During the University's 1996-97 fiscal year,
Michigan alumni contributed more money to
their alma mater than alumni at any other pub-
lic university in the nation.
With one of the largest groups of living col-
lege alumni in the U.S., consistently impres-
sive development figures are not surprising.
Steve Grafton, director of the University
Alumni Association, said he estimates the
number of living alumni to be more than
400,000 people
In 1996-97,
alumni gave
561,923,869 to the Revenue:
University, part of
the reportedJ
S 1 57,9947710,1 JU
raised that year $ 4,25 million
The total
amount raised 8997-
jumped to $ 4.4imillin
S 179,524,097 dur-
ing 1997-98. I July 1, 1996 - JunE
Although only $ 4.1 million
about 105,000 -
graduates are 0 July 1, 1995 - JunE
members of the $ 3.9 million
A l u m n iSou
Grafton said, "peo-
ple generally have a pretty strong loyalty to
their alma mater.
"Those who are members of the Alumni
Association are much more likely to give to the
University and at a much higher rate," Grafton said.
And although Grafton said the Alumni
Association is not in the business of raising
money for the University, the organization often
builds the foundation for solid relationships
between the University and future donors.
'You never know who the future Alfred
Taubmans are :.. You should build that kind
of foundation with everyone,"!Grafton said...
Just a phone call away
Although University administrators usually do
most of the work to process a donation of the
likes of Taubman's,'there is a group of students
hard at work to obtain other contributions..
Telefund, a program which solicits dona-
tions from alumni. via telephone, employs
more than 75 students part-time per semester
who work seven days a week to, contact
200,000 alumni each year.
Through her work at Telefund, LSA senior
Eleanore Schroeder said she has talked to hun-
dreds of University alumni and has secured

"The focus is on donors, not dollars. We get
people to give at a level that feels good for
- Leah Hoover
Associate director of the Annual Fund

thousands of dollars in pledges from alumni
who want to give back to the University.
Schroeder said a call from a Telefund
employee is the not the same as a phone call
from telemarketers.
"I feel it's a much more worthy cause than
selling knives," Schroeder joked.
Schroeder said alumni are usually pretty eager
to give, especially when they are informed that
the money will pay for new technology on cam-
pus and emergency financial aid or will benefit
students who share their field of study.
Her experiences have even shaped how she
will view those evening
phone calls that she will
be receiving after she
graduates this May.
"I definitely am more
familiar with the impor-
tance of annual giving,"
3, Schroeder said.
Associate Director of
the Annual Fund Leah
3,998Hoover said the goal of
Telefund is to create
relationships with alum-
30,1997 ni for consistent giving.
"The focus is on
donors, not dollars,"
30,1996 Hoover said. "We get peo-
ple to give at a level that
c: Michigan Telefund feels good for them."
Although the organi-
zation started as a cam-
paign that would last only a few months,
Hoover said Telefund now operates year-
round, working to contact alumni seven days'
a week and twice on Sundays.
Telefund Program Officer Laura Mesack
said not only does Telefund bring in more
money than alumni phone drives at any other
public or private institution in the country, it
has remained near the $4-million mark longer
than any other institution.
Last year, 43,000 University alumni helped
Telefund reach its $4-million goal, and this
total is only a sliver of the Development
Office's yearly figures.
The University also uses direct mailings to
alumni as a way to create and maintain rela-
tionships with donors.
Last year alone, using a staff of two people
and sending out an estimated 300,000 letters,
Jan Geddes - assistant director for Annual
Giving and manager of Direct Mail Program
for Central Developing - said such efforts
brought in $1.75 million for the University.
One of the methods Geddes said has used
for success includes a tactic used by
Pennsylvania State University.
By sending a letter to select alumni, early
donors-by-mail are given a "reprieve" from
the fall Telefund calling program.
"The response rate is relatively high. People
seem to like the idea," Geddes said.
On a mission for a billion
In recent years, development initiatives at the
University have outdone all others in the nation.
In September 1992 the University eagerly began
the Campaign for Michigan to collect $1 billion

Although the campaign included donations
from corporations, like the Big Three
automakers - Ford Motor Company, Chrysler
Corp. and General Motors - Dow Chemical,
Parke Davis Pharmaceuti-cal and groups like
the American Lung Association, Feagin said
that during the campaign the significance of
gifts from individuals was obvious.
"The most important trend that I see that grew
during campaign was the increased proportion
that comes from individuals," Feagin said.
Feagin said that 20 years ago, 40 percent of dona-
tions came from living individuals, but last year that
number grew to 62 percent of total gift receipts.
The billion dollar campaign coincided with
one of the most economically prosperous peri-
ods in U.S. history.
"It was wonderful to have a campaign like
that during this time," Feagin said, adding
there was a direct connection between the
jump in individual gifts to the University and
its economic health.
Donors 101
But the University is not an organization
interested in just taking donors' money and
running. To determine how the University is
received by its lifeline of supporters, the
development office hired Ann Arbor-firm
Claes Fornell International Group this summer
to assess donor satisfaction.
The firm, which was established by Business
Prof. Claes Fornell, has provided marketing
research and analysis to companies such as
McDonalds Corp. and Federal Express Corp.
In July, the firm sent questionnaires to an
estimated 3,000 donors who have contributed
a cumulative $25,000 to the University.
Director of Development Communications
Judith Malcolm said the University was particu-
larly concerned with how donors wanted to be
informed on the fruition of their gifts and how
adequately the University expressed its gratitude.
"We wanted to know how, well we were
taking care of them," Malcolm said.
Malcolm said donor satisfaction is a topic
every university is interested in, but is one that
is often assessed through means such as a
questionnaire in an alumni magazine.
When representatives from the University's
development office met with other Big Ten
schools in August and presented their latest
efforts, Malcolm said she found that "no one
had done anything like this."
Malcolm said response to the survey has
been successful, with more than one-third of
donors returning their surveys. She said the
results of the survey are expected to be
released later this fall.
A growling family
In Grafton's mind, University students may
leave Ann Arbor, but they are always part of'the
Michigan "family."
Whether or not they are members of the alum-
ni association, Grafton said "people don't mind
standing up and saying 'I went to Michigan."'
Grafton and Feagin both said the University
has a mystique that sets the campus apart from
other places.


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