'By Philanthropy' Campaign Answers the Question: How Are Donations Used?

It’s easy to measure how much money the university raised in The Campaign for UC Davis, which ended in 2014: more than a billion dollars. It’s not so easy to demonstrate how all that money is being put to use in scholarships, endowed chairs and other less visible ways.

Spot the Stickers

Look for stickers like these around campus:

  • "World-class performances by philanthropy," on the Mondavi Center.
  • "This beautiful view by philanthropy," on a bench in the arboretum.
  • "Sportsmanship by philanthropy," on the Marya Welch Tennis Center.
  • "Caffeinated by philanthropy," on the coffee lab in Everson Hall.
A sticker on the giant tennis ball outside the Mayra Welch Tennis Center reads "Sportsmanship by philanthropy."
A sticker on the giant tennis ball outside the Marya Welch Tennis Center. (Sarah Colwell/UC Davis)

So, the UC Davis Foundation has launched the “by philanthropy” initiative that includes lapel pins for faculty and staff who have received support, T-shirts for scholarship winners, and stickers for buildings and fixtures — identifying the people and halls and equipment that are “by philanthropy.” An accompanying website offers stories about multiple beneficiaries of philanthropy.

“We hope to show people how these private donations are impacting their lives in a manner they might not have been aware of before, and do it in way that is visible and fun,” said Sarah Colwell, senior manager of marketing and communications for Development and Alumni Relations.

She said the idea came about when, at the end of The Campaign for UC Davis, several students asked how the donations were being used. The answer may not be obvious to students who are not receiving a scholarship, Colwell said.

While some university projects that receive philanthropic support can be marked with a plaque or the name of a prominent donor, this is the first time a push is being made to connect all of the beneficiaries — people, places and things — with a unifying look and message. Some examples of things supported by donations include tomato research at Russell Ranch, chemistry books in the library and the main performance hall at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Shrishti Tyagi during the Student Thank-A-Thon on the Quad on Tuesday May 11, 2016.
Neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Shrishti Tyagi with the T-shirt she decorated during the Student Thank-A-Thon. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The “by philanthropy” initiative was launched May 10 at the Student Thank-A-Thon, where more than 250 scholarship recipients gathered on the Quad to hand-write thank-you notes to donors.

The students wrote on T-shirts, too, filling in the blank spot before the phrase "by philanthropy," to explain how a scholarship or fellowship had made a difference in their lives. Here are some examples: “Empowered by philanthropy,” “Dreaming big by philanthropy” and “First-generation supported by philanthropy.”

The stickers, which started going up around campus the same week, are manufactured by GrogTag — a company co-founded by alumnus Mac Clemmens, MBA ’07. The stickers have a special adhesive that won’t leave any residue on buildings or campus landmarks.

More information about the campaign is available online.

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Media Resources

Cody Kitaura/Dateline, Dateline, 530-752-1932, kitaura@ucdavis.edu

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