Last Friday, Ali Johnson went shopping for children's books. As a major gifts officer at Utah Valley University, buying children's books isn't usually part of her job description, but a donor had wanted to place hundreds of volumes for young readers in the family study room at UVU's new library, so Johnson went shopping.
While the building is now full of books (including the donated children's volumes), it's lacking a name. Johnson is still hoping to find a donor who wants to buy the naming rights to the new building. Anyone with $10 million could have it -- the hard part is finding such a person. School officials say fundraising gets difficult when the economy turns south; however, UVU hasn't taken a hit yet.
"There's no question the economy affects fundraising," said Val Hale, UVU vice president of advancement. While the effects of the slow economy are coming to Utah, UVU has had a good year for fundraising. Hale said the school is ahead of last year's numbers.
At Brigham Young University, fundraisers have felt the impact of the slow economy, but much like UVU, they aren't worried about meeting their goals.
"We continue to be grateful for the generosity of our donors. We are cautiously optimistic and anticipate a positive year," wrote BYU spokesman Michael Smart in an e-mail.
Gregg Warnick, the capstone external relations manager at BYU, recruits companies to sponsor final projects for engineering students. A project grant costs $20,000, and BYU participates in between 25 and 30 projects each year. Warnick says some companies have indicated they cannot participate in the program, but Warnick is not worried about finding enough sponsors.
UVU Library Director Mike Freeman said there are still several naming opportunities in the new building at UVU, without putting a name in letters on the side of the library. The Lakeview Room, a room on the fourth floor with glass walls and a wide view of Utah Lake, can still be re-named.
Johnson said there are naming opportunities for donations beginning at $5,000. Donors can even give to UVU to buy the library's works of art on the first floor. The artwork is currently on loan to the school in hopes that a donor will make it a permanent part of the building.
The donations are being used to fund the school's portion of the building costs, which is $1.25 million. Freeman says that whole sum has not yet been acquired.
Anyone who would like to donate can contact Ali Johnson at 863-7575.
• Brittani Lusk can be reached at 344-2549 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.