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Doug Robertson

Professor Doug Robertson has helped lead General College participation in the Community Fund Drive for 13 years.

People with big hearts

Community Fund Drive volunteers make it easy to give

By Gayla Marty

From Brief, October 19, 2005

How does a University group achieve a participation rate of nearly 90 percent in charitable giving?

One team leader for 13 years is Doug Robertson, a professor in General College. Gearing up for the Twin Cities campus Community Fund Drive is a familiar job to Robertson, who teams up with a couple of staff members each year. In 2004, Robertson, Karen Bencke, and Patty Fillipi helped General College achieve a participation rate of 89.31 percent, consistent with recent years' totals.

Only the Board of Regents and the President's Office were higher in 2004. Runners up were University Services, University Relations, and the Department of Audits, with participation rates ranging from 60 to 65 percent.

What's the secret?

"People with big hearts would give," Robertson says, "but they get piled up in daily work and just don't get to it."

So Robertson and his partners go around the college, person to person. Sometimes staff members ask questions. If they've misplaced their forms, the volunteer has more. Volunteers hand out chocolate candy kisses to people who give and those who don't. They make it easy for big hearts to open.

"We're a very giving, caring, close-knit community," says Robertson. He also credits Dean Taylor last year and interim dean Terry Collins this year with being very visible in supporting the drive.

Numbers at mid-month

As the Twin Cities campus Community Fund Drive came into the home stretch this week, the fund-raising total passed the $400,000 mark with 10 percent of employees participating. The goal is $1.2 million with a 40 percent participation rate, so there's a long way to go.

This year, University students can learn about the drive and participating charitable federations by stopping at a table on the ground floor of Coffman Union Oct. 19 and Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There they can find out about volunteering and internship opportunities. They can give monetary donations if they wish.

For more information about the Community Fund Drive, see the CFD Web page, http://www.umn.edu.

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