University of Delaware Office of Public Relations The Messenger Vol. 5, No. 2/1996 Doing something for Delaware You decide. These words describe the University of Delaware's Annual Giving program. "Donors are more inclined to support us when they discover two points," Stewart Stabley, interim director of development, says. "First, donors can select what program to support, and second, 100 percent of that gift is used for its intended purpose. No administrative costs are associated with the gift." During this academic year, there are more than 1,000 first- time alumni donors, according to Joseph Bradley, Delaware '79, director of annual giving. "This is a trend we're working to continue," he says. Anthony Rossi, Delaware '94, a first-time donor to the University, says he believes many students are helped through scholarships and previous alumni gifts. "I think it's important to give to your alma mater. I've been fortunate and maybe I can help someone else," Rossi says. This view is shared by Lauren Stern Hartman, Delaware '88. "I value the experience I had at the University of Delaware and feel that it has greatly helped me in my career. I want to do what I can to help give today's students the same opportunities," she says. Bradley points out that 80 percent of the University's alumni have graduated in the last two decades, and these recent graduates have an important role in sustaining the growth of the University of Delaware. "We are working to encourage alumni participation soon after graduation," he says. National surveys of higher education often emphasize alumni donor participation in ranking universities. Corporations and foundations also place significant emphasis on a university's alumni support. "Our firm makes funding decisions based on alumni giving," says Bob Lipstein, Delaware '77, a partner of KPMG Peat Marwick. "If alumni support their institution, it sends a strong message to others that it's a great investment. If those closest to the institution believe in it, we should too." Every gift is important to the University, says Stabley. "For that first gift, especially, the act of giving is more important than the amount." A $60 annual gift, or $5 per month, is a good start, Bradley says. "There are excellent reasons to give to UD, and that's why people are contributing in larger numbers," says Bradley. "Perhaps the best reason is that others paved the way for us, and now it's our turn to help educate current and future students."