UK phonathon reaches $1 million mark for 11th straight year

McKenna Horsley

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With donations from many friends of the university, UK’s Office of Philanthropy raised more than the $1 million  pledged in a phonathon just before Spring Break. 

Anne Lichtenberg, director of annual giving, said the 2015 fiscal year was the 11th consecutive year the phonathon reached the $1 million mark. 

The phonathon consists of 60 student callers and several supervisors who call UK alumni, students’ parents and other friends of the university, soliciting for donations to various UK projects. 

Some donors donate to their former colleges while others donate to other projects, such as research programs and UK’s Cooperative Extension Service.

“Without the support that we get, … we are not able to do that kind of outreach,” Lichtenberg said. “That kind of research … impacts the state in addition to the education we provide for students across the state, and across the country and world.”

UK began the phonathon in the early to mid-1990s. Lichtenberg worked for the phonathon in 2003 as a UK student, an experience which led to her current role. 

“We have over 10,000 alumni and friends and parents who are saying, ‘The university is important and I want to invest in that,’” she said. “That’s always something that, even as a student to now as the director of annual giving, it’s heartening to see so many people that value the university so much.”

The phonathon has funded many opportunities for UK over the years. Lichtenberg said Douglas J. Von Allmen began a conversation with UK about a large donation when a student in the phonathon contacted him.

Allmen had never donated to UK before but said he was had been waiting for the university to contact him. That conversation led to the formation of UK’s Von Allmen School of Accountancy in the Gatton College of Business and Economics in 2000. 

“That’s sort of the power of the phonathon,” Lichtenberg said. “It allows you to talk to everybody.”

The Office of Philanthropy raised a total work product of about $168 million for the 2015 fiscal year, according to Lichtenberg. The office is responsible for all of UK’s fundraising.

 “The phonathon is a very small piece of what the Office of Philanthropy does,” Lichtenberg said.

Student phonathon callers are paid, and the Office of Philanthropy will be looking for summer applicants within a couple of weeks.