Press Center

We Are Phil: Year Two

October 10, 2014

Successful annual giving program promotes philanthropy among UI faculty and staff

We Are Phil is the University of Iowa’s faculty and staff giving program that launched in fall 2013. It highlights the transformative power of philanthropy—“Phil”—at Iowa and asks faculty and staff to consider making annual financial contributions to support any area of the UI.

Now in its second year, We Are Phil will hold its annual appeal this week, October 13 to 17, on the UI campus. A contribution package will be sent, via central mail, to all regular UI employees who are employed half-time or more, and more than 100 volunteers will host events within their colleges or departments—to raise awareness about the impact of private support, to encourage colleagues to make a gift, and to build a sense of community and have fun.

“An abundance of opportunities exist to be philanthropic at the UI,” says Joni Troester, a We Are Phil campaign co-chair and director of UI Human Resource Services. “You can support athletics or libraries, the college you graduated from or where you work, or an organization on campus that is doing work you care about. You can provide resources to advance medical research or help pay for scholarships. The options are so diverse.”

In We Are Phil’s first year, participation by faculty and staff—the number of UI employees who made a gift of any amount to support any area of the university—rose by 26 percent from the year before. More than 3,000 faculty and staff members took part by making a gift during the last fiscal year (July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014), with their contributions amounting to more than $4.5 million to support UI programs, projects, and people.

Amber Seaton is assistant dean and We Are Phil volunteer chair for the UI College of Pharmacy, which had 70 percent of its faculty and staff make gifts to the UI last year. She said, “In our college last fall, We Are Phil gave us the chance to come together as a community working toward one common goal. We have never had so much fun together as we did with ‘Phil’ last year. We are excited to welcome ‘Phil’ back to the college again this year.”

Dr. Matthew A. Howard, professor and John C. VanGilder Chair in the Department of Neurosurgery, is a We Are Phil co-chair, along with Troester and Jerry Schnoor, professor and Allen S. Henry Chair in the UI College of Engineering.

“When it comes to giving to the University of Iowa, it is the good and right thing to do,” Howard said. “It feels good to pay back for the support we were given—and to make a difference for the next generation.”

UI employees’ contributions to We Are Phil also help advance the UI’s comprehensive campaign, For Iowa. Forever More, which launched in 2013 and has raised more than $1.3 billion toward its $1.7 billion goal.

UI employees can learn more about We Are Phil, find a fund to support, view video messages from their colleagues and peers, and tell their giving stories at

About the University of Iowa Foundation
The University of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to advance the University of Iowa and fulfill the aspirations of those it serves. The university’s dedicated contributors fund a broad array of needs, from student scholarships, breakthrough research and life-changing health care to innovative facilities, community outreach and global education.

The UI and UI Foundation are conducting a historic comprehensive $1.7 billion fundraising campaign, For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa, which will secure the UI’s status as a world-class institution for future generations.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the University of Iowa. For more information about the foundation and the campaign, visit the foundation website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Larson, executive director, communications and marketing, the University of Iowa Foundation; 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973;