By Denton Josey, Student Reporter
For the third year in a row, anonymous donors have offered a $250,000 matching grant in a challenge to alumni and friends of the university.
As a special branch of the Centennial Campaign and the Centennial Annual Fund, the Centennial Challenge aims to raise a total of $500,000.
As a part of the Centennial Challenge, anonymous donors will match one-to-one any new donations given by Dec. 31 to the Centennial Annual Fund. If a donor gives more money in addition to previous donations, the money will be matched.
The Centennial Annual Fund uses the gifts for budgeted expenses at the university, unlike some donations, where donors request that their gifts be directed towards specific uses such as the performing arts or athletics.
Rendi Hahn, development program manager, said with all the people helping hurricane and flood victims, it is more challenging this year to gain support.
“The challenge will really help us in a year where we’re going to need all the help we can get,” Hahn said.
The Centennial Challenge gifts are also current-use dollars, which means they will be used this year. Donations go to “kind of a variety of things,” Hahn said.
“It’s not that glamorous, you can’t say ‘Oh, that big building is the annual fund.’ But it’s all across campus,” Hahn said.
Refurbished residence halls, library renovations, electronic library updates, even computer upgrades are all examples of how the Annual Fund is used.
Hahn said that while the donations do not contribute to lowering tuition, the money does help keep tuition costs down by meeting many campus needs.
“Gifts to the annual fund impact students all across campus,” she said. In the past, the funds have been used to create The Depot, support the Trustee Scholarships and aid the Science and Math Research Fund.
The Challenge has been helpful for the campaign because potential donors know their contributions will be matched.
“It really gives some momentum as we talk to people,” Hahn said. “Telling people that if they give a gift it will be doubled is a powerful thing.”
Brent Magner, director of development, said the Centennial Campaign is using several outlets to publicize awareness.
“It’s a combination of online announcements, announcements in ACU Today, direct mail and visiting one-on-one. Every means we can think of to get the word out,” Magner said.
This year, the Annual Fund’s goal is $1.3 million. Last year, more than $1.5 million was given in Annual Fund gifts. The challenge began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.
Magner said while this year’s challenge is still in the early stages, he is confident donors will be as generous as they have in the past.
“There are so many reasons people give. The majority I work with directly, they give because they have a very strong sense of the mission at ACU, that there’s real value there,” Magner said. “People have strong confidence in our students and what they are going to accomplish.”
As of Sept. 9, the Centennial Campaign had raised $93.1 million of its $150 million goal. For more information, visit the web site for the Centennial Challenge, www.acu.edu/challenge.