Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Wednesday, September 25, 1996

Fund-raising at UH
should be no problem

AN open letter to Gov. Ben Cayetano:

Read your UCLA alumni magazine.

The September issue of "AlumNews" provides a luau table full of fund-raising ideas to feed a hungry university and its hungrier athletic department.

What about approving special license plates for University of Hawaii supporters, academic as well as athletic? These are more than vanity plates. They would have a UH logo as part of the license plate, in addition to the personalization.

Since 1992, more than $150,000 has been raised by the UCLA Alumni Association for its need-based scholarships. More than $50,000 was raised last year alone from sales of the plates.

Plates are purchased, then renewed annually, providing a continual source of income. Special interest plates in Hawaii are $25 annually; for UCLA plates, California charges $60 (sequentially) and $90 (personalized) initially, $30 and $65 for renewals, respectively.

UCLA receives $3 to $4 from each renewal, with applications available through the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Automobile Association of America (AAA). How difficult would it be to develop a program for UH?

Get one for yourself. How about "GUV-4-BOWS"? Or better yet, "GIV-2-BOWS".

P.S. To athletic director Hugh Yoshida. You want teamwork to help bail the department out of its deficit? Start recruiting the UH alumni association, especially former Rainbow and Wahine players whose college degrees were paid for through athletics.

OUT of the 99,200 addresses of graduates currently on file at the UH alumni association office, there are just 10,000 paid alumni association members. Despite the increased tuition, attending UH is still considered one of the nation's best education bargains; the alumni dues are a steal at $35 annually to $500 lifetime.

If your sports marketing director hasn't already done so, get a direct-mail campaign going in conjunction with the UH Foundation's annual fund drives.

And if the athletic department is to become self-supporting, take a look at Fresno State's Bulldog Foundation, which raised $5,131,000 in 1995 alone, including ticket sales. It has led the nation in funding drives for the past 11 years, providing a third of the athletic department's income and covering 100 percent of scholarship and recruiting requests for all FSU teams.

Another suggestion. The Special Events Arena has worked wonders for fan attendance and recruiting. Get it working even harder as a fund-raiser.

Have the seats endowed for, say, $1,000 each. For that amount, donors could have a little brass plate attached to a seat with their name, class year, or other appropriate message.

It worked for the U.S. Naval Academy, a federally funded institution, which used such a campaign to raise $13 million to help build its Alumni Hall. The multipurpose building has endowed seats sectioned off by graduation class and legacies.

The Special Events Arena could be sectioned off by class and by sport, for memorials and honorariums. Many people would want to purchase a seat as a way to thank the late Stan Sheriff and Hank Vasconcellos, the Fabulous Five or the Wahine volleyball championship teams.

THE Hall of Honor is nice but a Walk of Honor would be more visible, especially if it encircled the Special Events Arena. Rainbow Plaza could be made up of bricks purchased and enscribed with a donor's name.

Still want that student-athletes' academic center as part of the arena? Consider building a rainbow into the arena facade, color-coded for respective donation levels, to pay for it.

Or charge it. Why not have a Rainbow Visa or MasterCard that gives back to the athletic department for every purchase? A number of universities have such programs.

Just some ideas, guys. And please save me a seat.

Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.

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