TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, April 22, 2004
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Donors maintain sense of unity
Often times, fond memories spark donors to give money to TCU.

By Allison Goertz
Staff Reporter

Late nights with roommates in the dorm, tailgate parties and celebrating after finals are a routine part of college life. But they may also be crucial to the financial health of the university.

Those charged with seeking donations to TCU say that it’s often a cherished memory like one of these that leads someone to donate.

Cathy Sheffield, director of gift planning, said as people get older, they look back at the time they spent on the TCU campus. The times they had motivate some donors to leave gifts to TCU in their wills, she said.

“They call it planned giving because it is a gift that takes planning,” Sheffield said.

Planned giving is only one way to support the university financially. Some donors give specifically to programs like athletics. Others give simply to provide scholarship money for students who may have a financial need or those who deserve recognition.

And TCU is glad to both receive the donations and to honor those who give.

People who participate in TCU’s planned giving program are members of the Britain Society. Although some people who give their estates to TCU want to remain anonymous, they are encouraged to become members of the Britain Society because it gives them a chance to be recognized.

“It allows us to thank individuals now who plan to give to TCU in the future,” Sheffield said. “They are making the ultimate gift to TCU by including TCU in their estate plans.”

For those interested in athletics, one route to donations is through the Frog Club.
“There has to be ongoing endeavors made to find donors and supporters who are eager to participate in bettering the lives of young student athletes by giving to the TCU Frog Club,” said Mark Mourer, Frog Club director.

Mourer said he is grateful to the many Frog Club donors. Some of the ways they are appreciated are by being provided with preferred parking at TCU football games and by recognition plaques.

“You can never thank them enough,” Mourer said.

Ann Louden, director of principal gifts, said the assumption of many is that they have to give a large sum of money, but Louden said it is more important to get into the habit of giving rather than worry about the amount.

Louden said she has had the opportunity to form friendships through her work. One TCU alumna she became close to was Vera Edelbrock, a 1930 graduate.

Louden asked Edelbrock to be the chair of her 50-year reunion. In her 70's, this was Edelbrock's first involvement with TCU since the time she was a student. It sparked her to be involved with the university until her death.

Edelbrock decided to leave $200,000 to TCU in her will and she specified that Louden decide how the money would be distributed.

“That was a great honor for me to be able to direct that gift,” Louden said.

Louden said the best way to reach potential donors is face-to-face.

Before a face-to-face meeting can take place, a donor research office takes steps to identify those people who could make wonderful donors. Part of this process includes identifying the assets an individual has, as well as if they have a “charitable impulse.”

“We have to figure out who we need to go talk to,” Louden said.

Not only does Louden have the opportunity to recruit donors and watch them experience the joy of giving, but she also experiences the joy. Louden and her husband give scholarships to TCU student leaders.

“It helps reward kids for being active on campus,” said Malcolm Louden, a member of the Board of Trustees.

William E. Tucker, TCU Chancellor Emeritus, is another faithful TCU donor. He said there are a variety of reasons to give money to the university.

“It provides a wonderful opportunity to do something that is lasting,” Tucker said. “TCU is more enduring than I am.”

Donors do not go unnoticed after making contributions to TCU.

They are honored at dinners and their names are listed in newsletters. They are also thanked personally by members of the Student Foundation, a highly selective group of TCU students who work to promote the university.

“We are able to work with TCU donors by calling each one personally on the telephone to thank them for their generous contributions to TCU,” said Tiffany Ameen, a Student Foundation member.

Many people work hard to continually promote TCU and attract donors who help make TCU what it is today. Every gift, no matter the size, is appreciated and vital to the university's existence.

“It inspires others to make a gift, regardless of the size,” Sheffield said.

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