Crowdfunding is New Way to Support UConn Programs

Lauren Schlesselman, associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Pharmacy and coordinator of the Pharmacy LEADERS Track, speaks to pharmacy students about the Pharmacy Leadership Program. (Ariel Dowski '14 (CLAS)/UConn Photo)
Lauren Schlesselman, associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Pharmacy, offers leadership training to pharmacy students. She has set up a crowdfunding page, in order to raise money to extend the training to students in other health professions. (Ariel Dowski '14 (CLAS)/UConn Photo)

SHARELINES

This year for the first time, UConn employees can create an online giving page to promote a UConn cause they are passionate about to their co-workers. This is a new initiative as part of the Close to Home Campaign.

Faculty, staff, and retirees can donate directly to research and programs at UConn through special crowdfunding pages that their colleagues have set up. It’s the newest option for employees who want to give to the Close to Home Campaign running through Dec. 31.

The pages allow these employees to multiply the power of their gift through their network of colleagues. They can share the page through social media or directly with co-workers to promote their cause.

“Crowdfunding really lets people promote causes they personally feel passionate about,” says Lauren Ellis Grabowski ’09 (CLAS), assistant director of annual giving at the UConn Foundation.

So far, individual faculty and staff have created 10 crowdfunding pages to promote specific causes, such as breast cancer research, scholarships, and female undergraduates majoring in science, math, and engineering.

Lauren S. Schlesselman ’94 (PHR), ’12 MA, associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Pharmacy, set up a crowdfunding page for her passion: leadership training in healthcare professions.

Schlesselman wants to expand the leadership track program that she currently runs for pharmacy students, which provides courses, projects, community outreach, and mentoring experiences, and her page raises funds for leadership training she hopes to offer students majoring in nursing, physical therapy, and other health professions.

Crowdfunding really lets people promote causes they personally feel passionate about. — Lauren Ellis Grabowski

Mary Ann Phaneuf, program administrator in the School of Pharmacy’s Office of Experiential Education, set up a crowdfunding page for scholarships, because she remembers how much her scholarship meant to her.

“I know when I went to school, scholarships helped me to achieve my personal success, and this fund is my way of giving back and making an impact,” Phaneuf says. “I love seeing the energy and excitement of students around campus once they receive a scholarship, and know that these contributions are a catalyst for their academic success.”

Besides crowdfunding, there are still other, more traditional ways to give to the Close to Home Campaign. Employees can make a payroll deduction as low as $1 per pay period or give an annual gift in support of UConn. Faculty and staff can give to any area of UConn as part of the Close to Home Campaign.

The fundraising campaign began as a way to encourage employees, including emeriti and other retired faculty and staff, to make a gift to the University in any area that is personally meaningful to them. During the last fiscal year, 1,732 faculty, staff, and retirees gave $3.1 million to the campaign.

For more information on crowdfunding or to make a donation, please visit the Close to Home Campaign website or contact Lauren Ellis Grabowski at lgrabowski@foundation.uconn.edu or 860-486-3132.