Guest opinion: Philanthropy affects all of us


Ben Allan Smith

Members from the Levitt Center for University Advancement hand out cookies on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 for the 1 Day for Iowa fundraiser. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Donors affect every facet of the UI, giving unparalleled opportunities to students and faculty, directly improving lives.

Philanthropy is a critical component to the life and success of the University of Iowa. As a board member of the UI Center for Advancement, I have seen firsthand the joy of our alumni and friends as they make a difference in the life of this institution. They are delighted to pay it forward as they understand what the UI means to them.

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Through my involvement with the Center for Advancement, I am amazed at the breadth of areas one can support. This institution is doing incredible researching, educating, and programming in so many areas, and our donors can discover their passion and connect in a meaningful way that goes beyond the dollars given. Whether it is the joy of the written word, the connection to first-generation college students, the atmosphere of a football Saturday, or the desire to support the cure for a familial medical issue, our donors become a part of the life of the UI.

I have also witnessed philanthropy directly affect the life of the university from my experience in the Tippie Department of Finance. I work with students who are afforded the opportunity to attend the UI because of the financial assistance they receive from philanthropy. Continued support has fostered an enhanced facility we work in today that is reconfigured to remain relevant to today’s needs. The educational experience is much richer because of the generosity from others.

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The Henry Fund and the Krause Fund, in which students invest funds given to us, provide a real-life working experience that is as relevant as any internship. Through philanthropy, students and faculty are able to use technology that could not be supported with tuition dollars. Private gifts also allow us to assist our faculty, who are the life of the institution, and provide our students a top-notch education. Phil is an integral part of my daily life, and I am delighted for the relationship we all share with it.

— Cathy Zaharis (’82 B.B.A.)

Director of Professional/Employer Development Tippie College of Business Board member, UI Center for Advancement

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