Stephanie Katz has been named senior director of UR’s George Eastman Society. The GES is a newly established fundraising society that organizes and collects monetary gifts for the University. Katz, who has extensive experience in advancement, including a stint as associate director of the Harvard College Fund, will be in charge of the formation and development of the society.

At Harvard, Katz worked as a fundraiser and succeeded in collecting millions of dollars for the school from five graduating classes. She managed both the annual and reunion fundraising.

For the 20th reunion of the class of 1985, Katz collected over $6.5 million. She also got over $2.3 million for the class of 1991’s 10-year reunion.

Katz graduated from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts with a master’s degree and received a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis. At Washington, she double-majored in architecture and art history.

She made the transition to advancement while she was working at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. While working as a temp. in the membership department, she decided that she did not want to pursue a career in art and moved over to the advancement department. Advancement is another word for fundraising.

After that she moved on to Harvard, where she was Director of Annual Giving for the HCF and Associate Director of Clubs and programs of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Upon arriving in Rochester, Katz joined the advancement division on Dec. 1 of last year, and since then she has been focusing on starting up the GES.

The GES is going to be the premier annual giving society for the University. It will honor donors who make unrestricted annual gifts of $1,500 or more. GES members will be recognized for helping to improve the University.

Katz said that the GES is an improvement because in the old system, there was no one society for donors to give gifts to. In the old system, a donor might give a sum of $2,000 to the University, and the money would go to two different branches. The donation would show up as two separate gifts of $1,000.

“In the past, the problem has been that University has been so decentralized,” Katz said. “There has never been an aggregate giving society throughout the University.”

The GES covers the entire University, including the University of Rochester Medical Center. Katz thinks that the cooperation of the entire University is key.

“My work will serve as a cornerstone of a University-wide, coordinated, and comprehensive program,” she said.

Money also comes from a plethora of sources associated with the University.

“The money that we receive comes from alumni, friends, parents and grateful patients,” she said. “But by and large, it’s mostly alumni.”

After receiving the money, the GES lets the Dean direct it where it is needed. The money goes to a variety of outlets, including scholarship gifts and general University funds.

Katz stressed that one of the most important uses of fundraiser money is unrestricted funds, which are annual donations that cover electricity and other operating costs around the University. They may not be as glamorous to donors as other uses for their money – some people would rather see their name on a scholarship fund – but they keep the school going. Katz said that raising unrestricted funds is one of the main goals of the GES.

Katz has a focused vision for the GES. She hopes that she can get trustees, key University staff and key donors to be a part of the society. She also wants other schools to look at the GES as a model in the future. Her goal is to double the annual fund by 2012. This means raising it from $4.9 million to $9.8 million.

Katz is excited about where the GES is going and has a high opinion of her coworkers.

“I am thrilled to be part of this growing advancement team and to have such talented colleagues,” she said.

Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.

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