Tuesday, September 18, 2007


..::As published on the William Allen White Website 7.12.06::..

When Kerri Davidson, a senior from Overland Park, hung up the phone Thursday, she had officially raised over $17,000 from alumni working for the University of Kansas Endowment Association this year.

Speaking with a graduate from the School of Journalism, Davidson ushered in the final night of the association's fiscal year with a single gift of $300 given for the scholarship fund for the school.

"She was so willing to give," Davidson said. "She was so excited, and it's always exciting when you talk to alumni who are happy to give back!"

Davidson and the Jaytalkers, or the student endowment employees, this year spent 4,800 hours on the phone, speaking with 37,800 alumni who pledged a total of $1,601,350 for the University's various colleges, departments and scholarship funds -- a 33.82% increase from last year.

"Kerri is a delight to work with, she truly does care about KU and strives to do her best in raising money for the University," Lindsey Byers, assistant director of annual giving for KU Endowment, said. "We had great leadership from our veteran callers and managers."

KU Endowment, which was founded in 1891, collects private donations for scholarships and to suppress tuition costs and is one of the only endowment associations in the country not operated or funded by the its university.

"Because of this, we have the unique ability to direct 100% of a donor's gift to the area(s) to which he or she designates," Byers said.

In Davidson's case, 100% of the donation was designated to scholarships for journalism students -- the school of alumni she was calling Thursday night.

In addition to her pledge, Davidson called more than 60 other alumni receiving several other smaller pledges, normal for her daily routine, she said.

"It's different every night," Davidson said. "I come in and get on the computer and call people. Generally the call goes great: you just update their information in the system for KU and then talk with them for a while about their experiences at KU and then eventually get down to seeing if they would support KU financially for the year."

Davidson, who has worked with the Jaytalkers since September, currently holds the position as the best-caller of the summer.

"Kerri is one of our most improved callers this summer," Byers said. "Her great attitude and enthusiasm are obvious in person and on the phone."


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