BY ARIE WILSON PASSWATERS AND JENNIFER EVANS
Rice University’s faculty and staff have done it again by raising a record-breaking $202,040 for United Way of Greater Houston. Rice has set new records in each of that last six years as it raised contributions for the organization that helps Houstonians in need of food, clothing, shelter and other services.
“In our 100th year, we are among the city’s 100 most generous institutional donors,” President David Leebron, honorary chair of the Rice United Way Campaign, said at a Feb. 14 event celebrating the closing of this year’s campaign. “I know the city and people of the city are very grateful. We, as a university, are grateful for this support that you expressed to the city.”
“I’m very happy that we’re having this celebration today, Valentine’s Day,” said Y. Ping Sun, university representative and lead donors chair. “It shows that we are really full of love; at Rice, we really love our Houston community.”
Anne Neeson, vice president of United Way of Greater Houston, thanked members of the Rice community for their ongoing support: “We grew up thinking this was the pinnacle of what university life was — Rice University. So it’s just so wonderful that not only do you do your jobs so well, building great minds and just being this stellar university — you are the gem of Houston, Texas — but you also are so caring, and it’s about being part of this community and making this community such an incredible place for people to live and work.”
The milestone success would not have been possible without the generosity of Jim Crownover ’65, Rice Board of Trustees chair and honorary chair of the campaign. Once again, Crownover offered $25,000 to match gifts from first-time donors 2-to-1 and matched dollar for dollar any gifts from faculty and staff who donated to last year’s campaign but had not contributed to this year’s campaign. His offer inspired more than 160 members of the Rice community to contribute.
Crownover was among 77 lead donors — those who contributed $1,000 or more, another university record. Together, these donors contributed 72 percent of the total funds raised. Campuswide, the university had a participation rate of 30 percent with 818 donors.
Among the 19 divisions on campus, the School of Natural Sciences had the highest total contributions — $20,711 — as well as the highest number of lead donors — 10. Public Affairs and Investments tied for the highest participation rate — 100 percent — and the Administration division had the highest number of donors — 281. The Enrollment division saw the most-improved participation rate — more than triple the number of donors from last year.
Bobby Tudor ’82, incoming chair of the Rice Board of Trustees, said, “But for the money raised through the United Way, very many of the social services that get delivered to the most vulnerable people in our city just simply would not get delivered. The pain and the suffering would be — what should be for all of us — intolerable. The United Way really delivers, and I have huge confidence in the United Way’s ability to do that.”
Sidney Burrus, the Maxfield and Oshman Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering and faculty chair for the campaign, said, “The United Way is an amazing entity for us all to contribute to the city of Houston. So completely apart from Rice, completely apart from this campaign, United Way is something that I’ve believed in for a long time. To couple that with my institution, Rice University, is a real delight.”
“The 2012-13 Rice United Way Campaign began during the university’s centennial year, but achieved the $200,000 mark just after the spring semester began in 2013,” said Barbara White Bryson, associate vice president for administration and staff chair for the campaign. “What a wonderful way to give back to the community that has given so much to Rice for more than a hundred years, and what a great way to begin our second century.”
Honorary chairs of the campaign were Leebron, Crownover and Provost George McLendon. Sun was the lead donors chair. Burrus and Wade Adams, associate dean of engineering, served as faculty co-chairs. Bryson was staff chair. Greg Marshall, director of university relations in the Office of Public Affairs, was the campaign manager, assisted by events specialist Claire Salazar, also of Public Affairs.