Look Who’s Outstanding!

Back row, left to right: Tawny Chase, Melinda Gartrell, Donna Koopman, Pamela Eppler, Elisa Lilly, Patti Nash, and Jackie Archuleta. Front row, left to right: Michelle Applebaum, Auli Summerhays, Hiroko Ishmaru, and Nancy Andrews.

No one knew what was going on…

Early in April, Rudy Garcia, the Senior Associate Vice President for University Advancement, called the Constituent and Gift Information team (which reports to him) into a meeting without telling them what it was about. Although everyone was a little uneasy, they sat down and waited for Garcia to explain.

“Good news!” Garcia said, “I’m happy to tell you that you’ve been awarded the Outstanding Campus Unit award and will be recognized in the near future!”

“We were all a little more than relieved,” said a team member. “And then we were just excited!”

The people behind the work

What are the people like who serve on this team that meticulously documents and manages gifts to the university?

“We’re an eclectic mix,” Auli Summerhays said. “We come from a variety of backgrounds. We have team members from the U.S., Japan, Scotland, and Finland. Four people on our team have been with us for less than a year. We have various dietary needs so we have to work at finding a restaurant where we can all lunch together.

“We’re detail-oriented people who care about our work and each other. During year-end (calendar and fiscal), there’s a lot of overtime work to make sure the gifts get processed in a timely manner. There was a time when our team was even smaller. In order to make sure that donors got their tax receipts in a timely manner each year, the team was used to working through the Christmas and New Year holidays.

“We consider ourselves fortunate because we get to witness the generosity of our community, alumni, and friends first-hand because all donations pass through the team’s hands as they’re processed.”

Lunch at the Rainbow

The recognition event for the team took place over lunch on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at the Rainbow restaurant. The team consists of Nancy Andrews, Michelle Applebaum, Jackie Archuleta, Tawny Chase, Pamela Eppler, Melinda Gartrell, Hiroko Ishimaru, Donna Koopman, Elisa Lily, Patti Nash, and Auli Summerhays.

Exacting work

The CGI team makes sure the University’s donations from private donors, corporations, and foundations are posted accurately to the Advancement donor database and with the CSU Foundation. They make sure the donor’s intent for the donation is honored as they manage complex donations including gifts of:

  • securities
  • IRA-qualified charitable distributions
  • matching gifts
  • noncash assets including gifts in-kind, of service, and use of property
  • trusts
  • life insurance policies
  • sponsored programs grants and contracts, and
  • conditional pledges.

The CGI team exceeds the university’s constituent expectations by paying attention to the detail of the relationship and to the delivery of philanthropic services. The CGI team adheres to and exceeds the mission by being the “behind the scenes” team working diligently to process the gifts coming through their department.

The CGI team posted 8,120 transactions and set up 65 new gift funds in the month of December before the end of the calendar year. They are also responsible for tracking biographic data for all university alumni, friends, Call-A-Ram gifts, and gifts coming through CSU websites.

Recognizing coworkers for hard work, community spirit

The CSU Employee Appreciation Board, originally formed in 1968, recognizes employees for their hard work and promotes community spirit among CSU faculty and staff through events such as breakfasts or luncheons. Each month, the Board hosts a prize drawing for all faculty and staff who submit an entry form, including a coveted reserved parking space for a full month.

The board meets monthly during the academic year to discuss and plan employee recognition events, as well as to help promote university events. One of the main objectives of the board is the monthly recognition of a group, entity or college.

Have a department or office you want to nominate? Use this form

Story by Brittany Habben, CSU Alumni Association