The Importance of the Annual Fund

Date: January 3, 2017 12:01 pm
Author: Ilan Atri

Many Yeshiva University students have never heard of our university’s Annual Fund. What is the Annual Fund, you might ask? The Annual Fund is the budget that is responsible for part of the funding for scholarships that are granted to over eighty-five percent of undergraduate students. The Annual Fund also provides both campuses with programs (such as clubs), shuttles, security guards, sports, and other extra-curricular activities. Educating a student costs roughly twice the average tuition, so the Annual Fund helps compensate these monetary needs as well. What many people do not know, though, is where the money comes from.

So how does the Annual Fund do it? One word: Donors. Our generous alumni and supporters are the ones responsible for almost all of the funding. Whether attained through the online resource (yu.edu/support), or directly through one of the staffers in charge of fundraising, the money is always directed toward the pride and joy of the university, the students. In fiscal year 2016, the Annual fund raised $7.7 million in cash which came from 4,559 donors. More than 3,000 of those gifts were under $250, which shows that YU is supported on the broader level by the community and does not just rely on big donations. Essentially, the Annual Fund represents unrestricted giving to the university.

Now that we know the “who” and the “how” of the Annual Fund, we still need to know the “why.” As a student employed by the university to solicit money over the phone from alumni, I have heard firsthand why donors give, and why they sometimes do not give. I sit in an office on the 5th floor of Furst Hall and hope that the donor cards that are handed to me turn into donations. Doing so, I have learned that many of our donors recognize YU as the center for Modern Orthodoxy in the world and deem it responsible for shaping the young minds that will become the future of the Jewish people, both of which would not be possible without money. Also, donating is a way for an alumnus who is comfortable financially, or even not so comfortable financially, to thank YU for the tools they received while learning here, tools that they implement into their daily work.

The university has an entire department dedicated to fundraising the money necessary to support the Annual Fund. Five offices and five cubicles are occupied and busy from nine to five every day by employees who work at fundraising money. At night, from six-thirty to nine-thirty on select Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, up to nine students make donation-seeking phone calls. It is clear from all of these institutions that YU, just like our donors, recognizes the importance and necessity of money influx, outside of tuition, in running this institution.

Why am I telling you all of this? Yeshiva University is often regarded as a business. Curiously, the university is a non-profit organization. Also, a business that pleads its supporters to help it with a donation is unheard of. The university requires large sums of money to stay afloat, and all of it is given back to the students. So be sure to appreciate the team that makes this possible.

Lastly, now that you know what the Annual Fund is and the importance of it, be sure to be around and help out when our university reaches out to you for help, whether now as its current students, or later on as alumni.

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This post was written by Ilan Atri

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