Faculty, staff giving campaign inspires friendly competition

Claudia Taylor

Every year, the We Care We Count Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign raises funds for UNT programs, academics and scholarships. But money is not the only thing raised — the annual campaign also stirs up a bit of healthy competition.

Some schools, colleges and departments have initiated challenges to spur greater participation in We Care We Count. The College of Arts and Sciences carried out an interdepartmental challenge in 2012 that resulted in more than $58,000 raised for the campaign. Heather Cairns, executive director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences, kept departments updated via email on who was in the lead each week.

The winning departments — economics and mathematics — earned bragging rights as well as a donation of $500 each to department scholarships from Michael Monticino, then dean of the college and current vice president for Advancement. Current dean Art Goven has agreed to do the same for this year’s winning department. The winners were determined by percentage of department employee participation and by amounts raised per department.

This year, Monticino will give $500 to We Care We Count to recognize the campus office, division or unit with the highest percentage of employee participation and the one that raises the most revenue.

“The enthusiasm we created here in CAS by putting out weekly competitive emails was successful in driving up donations that support our students, and that’s the reason we all work at UNT — to give our students the best educational experience,” Cairns says. “Each department’s donors could see their contributions going to their own students, and they realized the difference they were making in those lives.”

Many of the donations made by CAS employees were eligible for a match from UNT President V. Lane Rawlins, who matched all donations made to scholarships and the President’s EDGE program supporting GED classes for employees. The president this year will match up to $100,000 in donations to scholarships from current and retired faculty and staff.

Todd Jewell, chair of CAS’ winning economics department, says Cairns made employees aware of which CAS scholarships were not funded sufficiently to pay awards based on the principal amount. As a result of We Care We Count fundraising, nine CAS scholarships are now endowed and generate interest payments that directly help students.

“I was talking to Heather every other day to see what the numbers looked like, how much we needed to raise,” Jewell says, laughing. “Beating other CAS departments — that’s what we wanted to do.”

But Jewell says the president’s match was what really amped up his department’s giving.

“I have a department that generally has been generous about giving money to scholarships. So when the opportunity came up for the match, that’s what really did it,” he says.

This year’s We Care We Count campaign continues through May 10. Employees are encouraged to give to the area of their choice, with all funds raised staying on campus to directly help UNT students and programs.

• We Care We Count information packets were distributed through campus mail. If you did not receive one, send an email to wecare.wecount@unt.edu.
• Learn about the President's Matching Challenge program.
• Visit www.unt.edu/wecarewecount to learn more.

Above, College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff who participated in last year's We Care We Count campaign included, first row: Steve Cobb, associate dean for administrative affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences; Margie Tieslau, associate professor of economics; and Su Gao, professor and chair of the mathematics department; second row: Jiyoung Kwon, economics lecturer; Myungsup Kim, associate professor of economics; Michael Nieswiadomy, professor of economics; and Heather Cairns, executive director of development for CAS; and third row: Donna Chandler, director of development for CAS; David Shiner, associate professor of physics; Todd Jewell, professor and chair of the economics department; and Michael McPherson, associate professor of economics.