UW-Eau Claire raises $73.4 million with community's support - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW-Eau Claire raises $73.4 million with community's support

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - -

On Thursday, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation announced it's "Power of Possible" campaign raised $73.4 million for the university. Though they said the results of the eight year-long campaign won't just benefit the students at UW-Eau Claire, but residents throughout the Chippewa Valley for years to come. 

"If we can help improve the community, I think at the end of the day, it makes the university stronger, it makes the community stronger," said Kimera Way, the Executive Director for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

According to the university, 39,000 donors made gifts and pledges during the campaign. That total includes money to fund student scholarships and support faculty research, as well as contributions made to the Confluence Arts Center in downtown Eau Claire. 

The university said the campaign's largest gift was the money and the land they received from two UW-Eau Claire alumni, which they plan to develop into a major event center on Menomonie Street

The university said 54 percent of the campaign's donors were alumni, but they're more impressed that 43 percent of donors had no previous ties to the university. 

"These types of activities really take the whole community to make happen," Way said. "It's humbling to know that you work at such an institution that people want to invest in." 

To them, it's reassurance that the community is on board with the direction the university is headed. 

"I believe it's current recognition for the work that we're doing now," UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt said. "Maybe not just the work we were doing in the past, but the impact they're seeing everyday in the lives of the community." 

Chancellor Schmidt also said university officials are already thinking about the next fundraising campaign and said they're focusing on the faculty and staff. He told News 18 he wants to re-invest in the faculty, calling it the best way to protect excellence at the university. 

Follow the link for more information about the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Highlights from the "Power of Possible" campaign include:

  • Donations to the campaign established 600 new UW-Eau Claire Foundation funds in support of UW-Eau Claire students, faculty, programs and facilities. 
  • A total of 148 donors gave $100,000 or more during the campaign.
  • The lead gifts of the campaign were the donations to the Confluence Arts Center, the commitment of money and the land on Menomonie Street from John and Carolyn Sonnentag, as well as contributions from 1943 UWEC alumnus Ralph Duxbury, who gave two gifts totaling $2 million and invested in two of the university's signature programs: choral music and the Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarships.
  • A particularly unique gift to the campaign came in March 2016, when Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Eau Claire gave its commercial station 99.9 WDRK-FM, now known as Blugold Radio, to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. The gift, which included the radio license, transmitter, tower and related equipment for operation of the station, was valued at approximately $1 million. 
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