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Skin in the Game

Faculty and staff contribute time, money

 

 Photo credit Janet Rogers, University Communications

 

University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty and staff fanned out across both campuses Wednesday to show off two different but complimentary characteristics: A beautiful campus, and some “skin in the game.”

The latter is an important factor for the $250 million Campaign for UMKC.  As UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton explained, it’s what investors want to see from the people they support.

“I’m reminded of the time when I wanted to start a business and I needed investors,” Morton said. “The first thing they want to know is how much you have invested. They want to know if you have any skin in the game.”

So a Faculty-Staff Service Day was the perfect kickoff for the faculty-staff component of the campaign. University employees engaged in painting, landscaping and other beautification efforts, before and after gatherings on both the Volker and Hospital Hill campuses. At the gatherings, Morton joined university and UMKC Foundation officials to talk about the financial and psychological importance of the faculty-staff component of the overall campaign.

While the $5 million goal of the faculty-staff component may be dwarfed by the overall $250 million goal, they said, it has a big impact on other potential donors.  

“Faculty and staff giving makes such an impact on the alumni and friends we are talking with,” said Murray Blackwelder, president of the UMKC Foundation. “They want to know that the people who work here believe in what they are doing and where the university is going.”

And evidently, UMKC faculty and staff are believers. At the kickoff event, the internal campaign co-chairs – Mel Tyler, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management; and Lora Lacey-Haun, dean of the School of Nursing – announced that the campaign is already half way to its goal.

A pre-kickoff phase primarily involving university deans and department heads helped get the internal campaign off to a rousing start, they said.  

“Lora and I thought it was important for the campus leadership to set the foundation for this campaign. Thus, I’m happy to report 100 percent of the deans and Vice Chancellors have already contributed to the Faculty and Staff Campaign,” Tyler announced.

Lacey-Haun said 45 percent total participation by faculty and staff, in addition to the $5 million in contributions, is also a goal of the internal campaign.

“To date, 24 percent of UMKC Faculty and Staff have contributed to the campaign and collectively, we have made gifts and pledges of more than $2.7 million,” she said.

For Janelle O’Dell, a staff member in the Advancement Department and one of 170 employee volunteers who participated, the beautification aspect was an ideal way to kick off the internal campaign.

“This is a beautiful campus, and it’s great that we can make it even more beautiful with the hard work of these volunteers and our professional landscaping staff,” she said. “I’m proud to be a part of this effort.”

Other faculty and staff are motivated by the significant impact that the internal campaign will have on students. Money raised through the internal campaign will be focused on projects for academic units and, especially, student scholarships. The Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management is offering a match to faculty and staff who make a gift to the Faculty and Staff Campaign Scholarship, a need-based campus-wide scholarship fund.

Students were on hand at each campus to offer their thanks to the volunteers. Walter Agbor, Pharmacy, spoke at Hospital Hill; and Alyssa Bell, Conservatory of Music and Dance, at Volker.

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"Faculty and staff giving makes such an impact on the alumni and friends we are talking with. They want to know that the people who work here believe in what they are doing and where the university is going."

Murray Blackwelder
President of the UMKC Foundation