Southern Foundation tops $12,000

Nearly 8,700 calls began at the Missouri Southern Foundation on Jan. 27 as the 21st annual Phonathon started.

Two weeks into its fund-raising, the Foundation has already gathered $12,000 toward its goal of $100,000.

“I’d say we’re going to be in good shape for that $100,000 goal,” said Curt Betebenner, director of the Foundation.

The Phonathon uses student workers and volunteers to call area businesses and alumni for donations to the College. Instructors also contribute money to the cause.

“It provides options for those who can’t provide bigger gifts,” Betebenner said.

The money donated to the Phonathon can either be given for use wherever it is needed on campus or given to a specific department or organization. Betebenner said the money helps every student on campus in some way, and the majority of it goes toward scholarships.

Last year there were four donations for the psychology department, three of which were from psychology instructors. This year Dr. Gwen Murdock, psychology department head, has had psychology club members volunteer with her to try and increase the amount of donations for their department. They will be calling psychology department alumni.

“We’re hoping by making a personal connection they’ll keep us in mind,” Murdock said.

Murdock has volunteered individually in the past, but called alumni from every department. She said calling former psychology students, including some she has taught, should be more enjoyable. Even though the psychology club’s goal is to increase the department’s funds, Murdock is not focused only on that.

“No matter how much or in what direction some choose to donate to the Foundation, we appreciate people’s interest in supporting the College,” Murdock said.

When proposing hiring a student work force, Betebenner looked at two factors. One, that the average donation increased when students were employed and two, most of the money goes toward scholarships.

“If we’re going to give out money anyhow, let these kids who need it come and get it,” Betebenner said.

He said most of his employees are students whose families are too well off to receive financial aid, but not well off enough to afford college easily.

Besides the stated purpose of raising money for Southern, Betebenner sees the Phonathon as something more.

“This is an opportunity for us to reach out to our alumni that never hear from us,” Betebenner said.

Some calls with alumni last up to 20 minutes, he said. He focuses on letting alumni know what is going on around campus.

“When the call is over, if we hang up and someone feels good about talking to someone from the College, that is what’s important,” Betebenner said.