ATWATER, CA — As part of ongoing fundraising endeavors to provide critical academic and student programs, a number of volunteer supporters of the University of California, Merced have created the "Chancellor's Associates", a program that has already enlisted the support of many local business leaders.
The volunteer-driven effort to create the fund has been spearheaded by community leaders including: Bob and Suzanne Carpenter, Jim and Carlene Cunningham, Ben and Rose Mary Duran, Curtis and Gaye Riggs, and Bob and Evie Ayers.
"I think people would be surprised to learn that most UC campuses receive only 25 to 30 percent of their operating funds from the State of California," said Bob Carpenter, local businessman. "The remainder of the University's funds will come from student fees, gifts and grants, a majority of which are designated for restricted uses. With this in mind, we felt it was important for the University to have a source of discretionary funds in order to move critical projects and initiatives forward."
The fundraising support group currently numbers more than 40 members, the majority of whom are located in the San Joaquin Valley but with several coastal members as well. The goal is to recruit at least 100 members this year, according to Mike Campbell, UC Merced's Executive Director of Development.
"The funds raised through this donor organization are designed to enhance the student experience while attending UC Merced," said Campbell. "An example could be the design of a recreational center for use by students, employees and community members. Since this type of project would not be academic in nature, it could not be paid for with state funds, so that's where the Chancellors' Associates' fund would prove very valuable."
Membership entails a $1,000 per year tax-deductible donation and will include two meetings per year with the Chancellor along with invitations to other campus activities. Businesses or individuals who would like more information about UC Merced's Chancellors' Associates may contact the Department of University Advancement at (209) 724-4401.