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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Annual Fund sets record-breaking year

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I -- July 21, 2005 -- The University of Rhode Island’s Annual Fund raised $1.18 million for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, an all-time record and 5 percent increase over the previous year. The average gift was $119, a 9 percent increase over last year.

The Annual Fund is the University’s premier fund and the primary source of unrestricted support for many ongoing programs.

Annual Fund Director Sarah Howard, of Wakefield, said the fund benefited from several large gifts. “We had more members of the President’s Circle, a giving club that includes individuals who make donations of $10,000 and above.”

“We found that even with soaring gas prices and the general uncertainty people have about world events and the economy, education is still at the top of peoples’ priorities.”

Howard had high praise for the honorary chairs of the Annul Fund, Wesley R. “Wes” and Dianne Kenny Card. Wes Card is chief operating and financial officer of Jones Apparel, Group, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and leading designer and marketer of branded apparel, footwear, and accessories.

“They worked hard on the fund from the beginning to the end. They can take pride in making this our most successful year ever. As they end their service to the Annual Fund, their commitment to URI won’t end. They have accepted the University’s invitation to be next year’s Winter Gala co-chairs,” she added.

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

Now that the fund has grown monetarily, Howard is setting her sights on improving participation. “We need to find creative ways to engage more alumni, friends and parents,” she said. “The University has been graduating more than 2,000 students each year, and we need to reach out so they can realize the benefits of continued participation with URI. What many of our young alumni might not know is that the Annual Fund provided scholarship support so they could successfully complete their degrees.”

“What a great year it has been for the Annual Fund,” said Paul Witham, associate vice president of development at URI. “Wes and Dianne Card were champions of the fund throughout the year, providing the leadership and alumni involvement that makes a difference to so many of our graduates.

“The Annual Fund staff also deserves major kudos for its accomplishments. Sarah and her team met every challenge with energy, enthusiasm and good humor,” Witham said. In addition to Howard, the Annual Fund is staffed by Pat Salzillo, Ibn Bakari, Teri Woodbine and Alisa Mahoney.