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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Annual Fund up 5 percent

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Leadership of honorary chairs cited as key reason

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 7, 2005 – It’s been a good six months for the University of Rhode Island’s Annual Fund, the University’s premier fund and the primary source of unrestricted support for many ongoing programs.

From July through December 2004, the Annual Fund raised $698,087, an increase of $30,425 or 5 percent more than the same period in 2003. The fund year ends on June 30.

“This increase illustrates how much our alumni, parents and friends value the University,” said Sarah Howard, director of the Annual Fund. “During a time of economic uncertainty and global tumult, our donors have made it clear that they want URI to remain strong and vibrant. They understand that support for our students and faculty, indeed the broad mission of the University, is vital, especially in these volatile times.”

Howard said the honorary chairs of this year’s Annual Fund, Wesley R. “Wes” and Dianne Kenny Card, have played key roles increasing the total dollars raised for the fund. “They have been extremely generous and have worked hard on behalf of the fund.”

Card, chief operating and financial officer of Jones Apparel Group, Inc., New York, and his wife, Dianne, volunteered last fall to chair the University of Rhode Island’s Alumni Fund this year.

Unrestricted contributions to the Annual Fund are critical because they provide flexible funding that can be put to immediate use where needed most. The Annual Fund is comprised of the Alumni Fund, the Parents Fund, and the Graduate School Funds.

A gift to the Annual Fund often translates into investment in undergraduate scholarships, faculty development programs, alumni communications and events, and a range of day-to-day programs for URI students.

Howard said the average gift is up 9 percent, from $102.80 for the first six months of 2003 to $111.77 for the same period in 2004.

Paul Witham, associate vice president of development at URI, said Howard and the Cards form an outstanding team. “Wes and Dianne Card are the kind of alumni we rely on to get things done. They don’t look for accolades, but rather results for the University and its people,” Witham said.

“Sarah brings a great deal of energy to the Annual Fund. She is upbeat and driven, two attributes essential to successful fund drives. When you combine her talents with the commitment of the Cards, you have a successful Annual Fund.”

Howard said the internet is becoming more important, as Howard has seen a 44 percent increase in online donations.

The Wakefield resident said the best part of the job is visiting with URI alumni and friends. “I get to meet people from all walks of life at all stages of life. In one day, I can be speaking with a young graduate who is just beginning their career and later I can be visiting with an alumna who has been retired for several years. The young grad may talk about their hopes and dreams and the retiree will share memories about their time at URI and all the good old days.”