CMU employees donate $1.4 million to university through campaign


Central Michigan University asks its employees to be the first in line to make philanthropic investments to university projects.

In its 2015 Annual University Campaign, CMU raised more than $1.4 million. Those donating were current staff and faculty, as well as retired faculty. The campaign allows employees to pledge money back to the university and choose what it is used for. Pledges are made between October and December. 

The university matches these donations dollar for dollar funds. Matched funds are taken out of the university's general fund, made up mostly of state appropriations and student tuition.

Money raised this year was more than any amount since the campaign's inception in 2005. The last record set was in 2010, when the campaign generated $1.2 million. 

"The purpose (of the campaign) is to support different areas — scholarships, the Student Emergency Fund, public broadcasting, the Grawn (Hall) renovation — it's just to give money back to things on campus that you love and would like to support," said Bryan Griffin, director of annual giving. 

The most dollars pledged this year were raised and given to the College of Business Administration, which has been raising funds for its Grawn Hall renovation since 2014. Funds are matched at the end of the fiscal year. CBA had the highest amount of dollars pledged in a college with 100 employees or more, at more than $500,000. 

The college also had the most participation for a college with at least 100 employees, with almost half of its employees contributing.

Griffin said he tries to increase donor count each year. This year 1,107 people donated. Griffin's goal was 1,200. 

CMU employees also have the option of payroll deduction. Employees can specify an amount to be taken out of their paycheck, which is given back to the university. Griffin said employees are encouraged to participate -- almost 450 of them do, including Griffin, who gives to the Student Emergency Fund.

"It just goes directly into the account you want to give to," he said. 

Out of those who donated, 398 were faculty members, 54 office professionals, 267 were professional and administrative staff and 36 were senior officers. 

Athletics took second in contributions, at $67,759, with 100 percent of its employees participating. The physician assistant program was highest for a department with 25 employees or less, contributing $44,639.

The Faculty Association Scholarship Endowment was created by the Faculty Association after students showed support for faculty taking a job action in 2011.

During the first week of classes, many faculty members took to the sidewalks on campus rather than teaching classes, because their relationship with CMU's administration was at an "all time low."

"The FA called a job action, and we were on the sidewalks with posters all around campus," said English faculty Daniel Patterson. "My students came out with hugs, asking if I needed anything to eat or drink, expressing their support and understanding. I had no idea students would support us as much as they did. That made me want to establish a scholarship sponsored by the Faculty Association."

The scholarship was finalized in 2015. The fund yielded one $1,000 scholarship last year. Patterson said this year the FA will have raised more than $53,000 total. This will allow two $1,000 scholarships to be granted.

"The goal is to develop indefinitely into the future," he said. "My dream for the fund is it to grow to $2 million and be able to give it to 100 students every fall. None of the money goes anywhere except to the students."

Patterson said the scholarship is looked at as a bright spot in the history of the relations between faculty and students. Griffin said highlighting the scholarship shows the university is focused on student needs.

"They're funding students who demonstrate need," he said. "It's something unique and different that faculty had the initiative to start."


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Sydney Smith is a super-senior at Central Michigan University. She comes from metro Detroit ...

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