The University of Iowa’s fifth annual We Are Phil campaign has a new twist in 2017: Faculty and staff are encouraged to donate directly to projects, scholarships, and initiatives sponsored by their colleagues.
The UI Center for Advancement first launched the We Are Phil campaign in the fall of 2013. Since then, more than 1,000 new faculty and staff have become UI donors.
To facilitate this process, the University of Iowa Center for Advancement has created a special page on GOLDrush, the university’s crowdfunding platform, to feature nine projects sponsored by various units and colleges.
“I attended public schools all my life, and I really believe in public education. I also believe, as times are changing, that public schools are not going to be available for everybody unless we all contribute philanthropically,” says Sue O’Dorisio, professor of pediatrics, director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship program, and one of this year’s three We Are Phil co-chairs.
This year, We Are Phil (“Phil” meaning philanthropy) runs from Oct. 16–20, though many of the projects featured in the campaign will be open to receiving funds for 12 days. In addition to online giving, faculty and staff may also give to any area of the UI through traditional means, such as checks and payroll deductions.
Last academic year, more than 3,100 UI faculty and staff contributed more than $5.3 million to UI programs, projects, and people. Since launching in November 2016, GOLDrush has raised more than $60,000 for nine campaigns from various campus units.
The nine projects featured in this year’s campaign were selected for the clarity of their development goals. Project leaders also were required to provide plans for how the collected funds would be used, even if they were unable to raise the desired total. The projects include raising funds for scholarships supporting women and minority business leaders, UI Cultural House programming, and to help Hawkeye teachers in hurricane areas.
O’Dorisio says she plans to give to the Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Journals project, which provides journals to families whose children are facing chronic pain or incurable diseases.
“I have personally experienced how they have helped all of our families of children with cancer, both those families whose child died of cancer and those families whose child has been cured,” says O’Dorisio. “These caring professionals have alleviated emotional and physical pain and have increased the quality of life for children who face medical adversities.”
David McCartney, We Are Phil co-chair and university archivist in the UI Libraries’ Department of Special Collections, says he will focus on social justice initiatives this year. He and his spouse, James, donated in the name of Stephen Lynn Smith (1944–2009), a former UI student from Marion, Iowa, and a vocal civil-rights activist in the 1960s who was beaten severely by authorities when attempting to register African Americans in the Deep South to vote.
“I wanted to recognize him for his sacrifices,” says McCartney, “and I wanted to help other students in his name.”
McCartney encourages faculty and staff to consider donating to scholarships for students in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“With the cost of tuition and other expenses associated with college as they are these days, it becomes an imperative to us to support scholarships in whatever way we can,” he says. “These scholarships attract students who exhibit great potential for leadership, not necessarily in terms of running for public office or becoming a CEO but also in terms of leadership among the communities that they serve.”
David Gier, professor and director of the UI School of Music and the third co-chair of this year’s campaign, says private giving allows the university to offer better circumstances for prospective artists and musicians, which helps the UI compete for the best students. Private support also funds research in arts and music faculty, who then infuse the classroom with their discoveries and skills, he says.
“Private support and its impact on the School of Music is really profound and pervasive,” Gier says.
This year, Gier plans to donate to efforts toward rebuild the remaining parts of the arts campus that were devastated by the 2008 flood. Although We Are Phil has nine featured projects this year, faculty and staff may give to any area of the university about which they feel passionate, and can specify which on the Give to Iowa website.
“I really do believe in the power of the arts—and the centrality of the arts to our identity; they are a distinguishing characteristic of the University of Iowa,” says Gier. “So for me, being part of that effort to rebuild—and not just kind of put things back in their place, but actually to create something that has power for generations—I want to be part of that effort.”
We Are Phil takes place from Oct. 16–20. Find out more about this year’s featured projects at the We Are Phil GOLDrush page.
Featured projects include:
- Using art to introduce young women to science, technology, engineering, and math
- Funding to repair and maintain the Graduation Herky statues
- Support for the UI Cultural and LGBTQ Resource Centers’ Sunday dinner program
- Scholarships for the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Support for women and underrepresented business students
- Funding to purchase journals for children in palliative care and their families
- Scholarships for student employees at the UI Libraries
- Helping Hawkeye teachers in areas recently affected by hurricanes
- Funding to support global health nursing student experiences in Swaziland, Africa