A New Generation of Funding for UB

Funding is an issue for every university. For public institutions like UB - who offer lower-than-average tuition rates - fundraising and donations play an even greater role in helping to further university advancement.

The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation is UB's major fundraising initiative which aims to raise $250 million by 2003. Begun in 1996 and made available to the public in October of 2000, the initiative solicits funds from alumni, corporate donors, foundations and other supporters to facilitate future growth and development at UB.

According to Suzanne Chamberlain of the Campaign for UB Committee, the initiative has already raised approximately $177 million and should meet the $250 million goal by the end of next year. Nearly half of the money so far has come from alumni, with an additional 16 percent pledged by corporations, 17 percent by foundations, 13 percent by friends of UB and 7 percent by organizations.

Individual schools and departments submit their desired goals for fundraising to the committee. For example, the School of Management hopes to gain $17 million, while the Division of Athletics aims for $10 million.

According to Chamberlain, an administrative committee considers each school's request for funds and makes a decision based on that. "After looking at what the school specifically needs, the deans, provost and development officers set the goal amounts," Chamberlain said.

These target amounts are not automatically met, however, as the donors have a direct say in where their money goes. Funds are often earmarked and donors typically have a desired use for the money. "It is always up to the donor to say 'this is where I want my money to go'," said Chamberlain.

"It's very specific," she explained. "Often alumni want the money to go to the school they graduated from."

Many supporters, however, make open donations and do not specify a destination. If no location is suggested, the campaign distributes the money as it sees fit.

Ten general areas are targeted for financial support, and all but three - UB's National Public Radio affiliate, WBFO; the athletics program; and the Janet and Robert E. Rich Alumni House - are directly related to academic endeavors. Academic goals include improving faculty and professional staff, nurturing national and global research projects, attracting and retaining high-quality students and improving facilities and resources for students.

"This program shows an administrative commitment to try and move us forward . and enhance what it is that we offer here at the university," said Vice President for Student Affairs Dennis Black.

The School of Management, for example, has attained $14 million of its $16 million goal. According to Jane Armbruster-Hu, senior director of development for the School of Management, the SOM wants to use the money to improve its image through the construction of additional classrooms and facilities, among other things.

"[We want to] look the part of the leading business school that we are," said Armbruster-Hu.

The largest planned construction for the SOM is the Alfiero Center, a $7 million project sparked by Jeanne and Sal Alfiero's $2 million gift to the school. The Alfieros are local philanthropists whose contributions include the Alfiero Intensive Care Wing of Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

Armbruster-Hu called this an example of properly harnessing resources and "establishing a future legacy for the donors."

The athletics department plans to use its hoped-for-funds to upgrade the basketball offices and UB Stadium, offer more athletics scholarships and build an academic center for student-athletes, according to Andrew Hurley, the department's director of development.

The academic center, which could include a cafeteria and a place where student-athletes can study, will take the place of the existing squash courts in Alumni.

"This shows our dedication to the athletes here and will help them excel in academics and sports," said Hurley.

Other university areas have lower monetary goals. According to Jennifer Roth, general manager of the station, WBFO is about halfway toward reaching its $5.5 million goal. "We have four major funds which the money will go to," said Roth. "Local programs, upgrading facilities and technologies, building on the Don Davis Endowment for WBFO and a hodgepodge of scholarships and specific developments."