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UC launches new crowdfunding campaign

September 18, 2013|By Larry Gordon
  • Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx is one of the celebrities on board to help the University of California's "Promise for Education" campaign.
Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx is one of the celebrities on board… (Francois Durand / Getty…)

SAN FRANCISCO — In an unusual effort to bolster financial aid for undergraduates, UC on Wednesday launched an online crowdfunding campaign that has movie stars, politicians, students and faculty members pledging to lead hikes, sing rap songs and work in soup kitchens to win donations.

The “Promise for Education” campaign will last six weeks and is designed in part to attract donations from students, young alumni and others who might not respond to more traditional fundraising appeals but may be intrigued by a social media appeal.

Among the well-known participants so far are Jamie Foxx, the Academy Award-winning actor, who promised to “rap a song like Bill Clinton, President Obama and Monique from the movie 'Precious,' ” and Mike Love of the Beach Boys, who pledged to bring a fan on stage at a concert to sing “Barbara Ann.”

Gov. Jerry Brown said he will host a brown bag lunch with a student from each UC campus. Student activists promised to clean beaches, serve at food kitchens for the homeless and, in the case of student Regent Cinthia Flores, dress up like Superwoman for a day.

Officials said about $900,000 has been given or pledged already, mainly in more traditional ways: large donations from businesses and UC regents, along with $400,000 from the estate of a New York State history teacher, Abraham Trop, whose three children attended UC. But organizers say they particularly want gifts from people who may never have donated before and might become lifelong UC supporters.

"The beauty of this idea is the democratization of fundraising. We’re trying to get everybody involved,” said UC Regent Sherry Lansing, a former movie industry executive who helped organize the effort and recruited some of her entertainment contacts to get involved. She pledged to work at a movie theater concession stand.

Whatever money is raised will supplement the nearly $700 million from university and private sources for undergraduate financial aid, not including federal and some state aid. Donors can direct money to a particular campus for need-based aid or to a UC-wide fund, according to a presentation during the UC regents meeting in San Francisco.

Among the big donations so far were $100,000 each from the Bank of America, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and UC Regents Richard Blum, an investment banker, and Norman Pattiz, a broadcast and Internet executive.


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Twitter: @larrygordonlat

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