The Kresge College Annual Fund

The Kresge College Alumni and Community Advisory Board invites you to participate in the life of Kresge—and join our extended family—in a brand new way: by committing to an annual gift

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already given to Kresge. Many of you volunteered your time and energy. You’ve made Kresge a better place through your creativity, your academic accomplishments, and your striving for higher wisdom within our learning community. Whether as an alumnus/alumna, a long-time member of our staff or faculty, or a supporter of one of our students, you’ve been an ambassador for our values, sharing your stories to the wider world about our truly unique college.

As you may have heard, Kresge College has the smallest endowment among the colleges at UC Santa Cruz. That makes us vulnerable. Each year we scramble to find one-time gifts and cost-sharing opportunities in order to avoid cutting faculty appointments and eliminating programming. So we’re asking you to consider joining us in making a stronger foundation on which Kresge can build.

An annual fund is a chance for a unique bond between an institution and its network of supporters. By committing to an ongoing practice of giving, a growing body of devoted supporters can help Kresge’s faculty and staff envision Kresge’s new possibilities from year to year. You help us do the hard work of making that vision a reality. In short: you’re giving us a budget we can count on.

We’d be honored if you would join the founding membership of this fund, by signing up right now. Want to know how we’ll use your help? Scroll down to read about our three stages.

 Kresge Piazzetta in the fog


For the last six years or so, in order to make the college come alive each year, Kresge has relied on just a few thousand dollars in payouts from its nascent endowment, some additional allocations for student projects, and a few other one-time funding opportunities. If you saw last year’s Annual Report, you know that we stretch these funds sometimes beyond recognition, and the results are clear. Our powerful enrichment faculty—whom students praise and identify as the front lines of their education—are offering opportunities that help lower-division students prepare for upper-division work, and help all our students keep their momentum toward a degree. Some students lead our entire campus with events like Kresge Pride; others work to bring noted teachers and writers as guests to our campus, stretching small funds to big results. Staff at Kresge regularly exceed their job descriptions to make sure Kresge is a dynamic liberal arts environment, and a crucial network of support, for students experiencing one of the most extraordinary times of their lives.

So how do we do it? Every year, Kresge’s leadership pounds the pavement, takes new risks, and commits extraordinary imagination to seek one-time collaborations with other campus units — that’s how we constantly bring new energy to Kresge.

— In 2016, we worked with Porter College to add new courses to our roster and launched a guest series in journalism, inaugurated by longtime This American Life executive producer and Kresge alumna Julie Snyder.
— A few months later, we teamed up with Porter College again to bring students together for A People’s Inauguration.
— In fall of 2017, we joined forces with the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board, three other colleges, Student Resource Centers, the Division of Student Success, and the University Library to bring Pulitzer-prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas to address Kresge’s core course. (And we recovered the cost—and more!—in donations to undocumented student services and the Educational Opportunity Program.)
And we’re proud that we earned our second UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board grant in a single year to support our May conference of the Right Livelihood College of North America, which brought Kresge into conversation with Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, and Daniel Ellsberg—the military analyst whose 1971 decision to disclose to classified Pentagon research on the Vietnam War to The New York Times is a formative moment in the history of democracy and the free press.

Kresge has even bigger and better plans—but we can’t make them happen without more support from our alumni. We do much more than attract leaders and visionaries for rare and globally significant dialogue. We need additional staff support to fulfill the promise of a personalized, human approach to advising and guiding students through challenging degree programs. We need foot soldiers to bring these visions together, for our students, and in collaboration with them. Kresge’s Cooperatives have unprecedented energy and excitement this year: thanks to your donations on Giving Day, we’re helping them expand, network, and find new opportunities on the eve of Kresge’s rebuild. We’re collaborating with departments like Environmental Studies and the Writing Program to build an even stronger core and enrichment curricula. We embark on a new collaboration with faculty in Feminist Studies and Media Studies to give our core course a life beyond its first quarter. And now we’re ready for a transformation, ready to turn a corner to a new era in Kresge’s service to its students.


 Kresge staff, 2018

The Kresge Advisory Board aims to reach $75,000 in annual support from our donors by the Spring of 2025. With your help, we’ll accomplish this in three stages.

First stage: Be a founding member of the Kresge Annual Fund.

By October 2022, we need $12,000 in annual giving to bridge the funding gap in our powerful new academic and enrichment curriculum to support our growing relationship with the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, and to put our best foot forward in conversations with potential large-scale donors and investors on the eve of our rebuild.

How to get involved: In the next six months, we invite you to speak to the Kresge Provost, College Administrative Officer, or a member of the Kresge Alumni Advisory Board, to learn more about Kresge’s architectural renewal and its new academic initiatives, to ask questions, and to share with us your own ideas for the next era at Kresge College. You can help us by extending and strengthening a network of alumni and other dedicated supporters, who will agree to give a fixed annual gift.
What your donation will support:
— Enhancements to Kresge core: including guests to the plenary sessions ($1,600 for 4 honoraria), improved writing tutoring and staffing ($1,500), support for the supervision of academic mentors ($3,600). [$6,800]
— 5-10 additional hours per week for part-time staff to enhance the work of advising, college programming, and outreach staff—including part-time coordination of sustainability-focused and service-learning focused student groups. In summer & fall only: $2,000.
Offer crucial support for Kresge students’ academic growth, research and creative work, including Kresge’s under-served Student Project Funds, Faculty Mentorship Grants, and the Reyna Grande Scholarship: $1,800
— Additional work for student coordinators serving functions similar to the above, and support for the coordination and facilitation of student group initiatives. $1,500: $750 for Professional Career Development Program (PCDP) interns, $750 for other student workers.

                            [TOTAL ANNUAL BUDGET: $12,000]

Second stage: Help Kresge reach its full potential on the eve of our architectural and campus renewal

By Fall of 2024, we aim to reach $40,000 in annual giving — to expand the “stage one” generosity of our founding members, promote small class sizes, build stronger curricular “Kresge Lab” collaborations with three academic divisions, and further expand staff hours dedicated to outreach for the Kresge College Endowment.

—  Promote small class sizes in Kresge Core: 350 first-year students divide into 12 sections of just under 30 students each, and this is too large for a traditional “core” course experience. If we add two sections — ($7,000 each for two additional sections) — our seminar sizes reach 25. This enables the kinds of instructor attention, and day-to-day student interaction, that fulfill our higher expectations of Kresge’s intellectual community. [$14,000]
Build stronger academic bonds and reliable collaborations with the departments of Environmental Studies, Computational Media, Film and Digital Media, and others, in order to enhance academic connections between tenured faculty and our Common Ground Center, our Media and Society series, and our broader enrichment curriculum. [$3,500 for an annual “buyout” to facilitate cross-listed or team-taught course.]
Support more consistency in our home faculty by expanding their contracts into courses like Kresge 18: Natural History Practicum, Kresge 25: Navigating the Research University, and Kresge’s famous suite of vital courses in writing and contemporary scholarship. [$7,000 to add two additional, crucial small-credit courses to our existing roster.]
Adding development roles to current part-time staff job descriptions. [$3,500 for 10 additional hours per week in two quarters; staff positions to be economized via pairings with liaisons at University Relations and other colleges.]

                    [TOTAL (additional) ANNUAL BUDGET: $28,000]

Third stage: Give Kresge its place among the financially empowered colleges of UCSC.

By Summer of 2025—we aim for combined annual fund and endowment returns yielding $75,000 total in annual donor support.

How to get involved: Kresge currently earns just over $5,000 annually, from an endowment of $113,797, and typically brings in $3,000-8,000 per year in one-time donations. We want your leadership and support to build—by the summer of 2021—a $50,000 Annual Fund.

A record of consistent giving by alumni is also a crucial ingredient in attracting larger-scale support in higher education. Foundations, estate-scale donors, and other investors are more responsive to collaborating with places like Kresge when they know that our network of individual supporters is already fully engaged. In addition to our Annual Fund goals, Kresge aims to build a $500,000 endowment by the Summer of 2021. Combining that endowment-payout of nearly $25,000, with our annual fund and our record of attracting one-time donors, we will have reached or exceeded our goal of $75,000 in annual donor support.

Reaching these goals will require a large-scale effort—capitalizing on the indisputable strength of alumni experiences at Kresge—to help draw attention to our uniqueness as an institution. Help us build toward this goal by spreading the word about Kresge’s higher aspirations. $75,000 a year in annual giving will help us:

— Support an expanded faculty at Kresge College that can serve as a governing body in support of the Provost’s Office, with administrative pay for lecturers, and joint-operations with academic departments [$6,000-12,000]
— Expand Kresge’s Core Course Academic Mentor Program with training and articulation programs led by Kresge’s own faculty [$8,000 for a pair of 2-credit annual appointment]
— Expand Kresge’s Plenary Sessions with moderately competitive speakers’ fees [$4,000-6,000]
— Additional support for student-driven initiatives, funding further engagement with alumni and emeriti faculty resources, to stipended guest mentorship for student cooperatives; funding for student-directed conferences and the maintenance of student-managed spaces on college grounds [$6,000-$10,000]
— Further empowerment of core faculty and staff with professional development support that articulates to advising and curricular initiatives [$2,000-3,000]

The Important Legacy You’re Helping to Grow

The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) was created in the mid 1960s—by noted educators Drs. Clark Kerr and Dean McHenry—to provide a major public research University organized as a cluster of small, residential colleges. It was an intensification of that same ethos that lead to the  founding of the sixth college at UCSC. Internationally renowned and prize-winning virologist Dr. Robert Edgar was recruited to lead that effort and expand UCSC’s educational vision. Edgar led students, faculty, and staff to form a place of learning and a community known for its compassion, its breadth of engagement with the challenges of living and learning, and its commitment to finding connections between individual contemplation and participatory democracy.

Alumni of Kresge College often say that they earned a degree, disciplinary expertise, and truly received an education. Kresge’s historic emphases on interdisciplinarity and practice-based learning are even more relevant in today’s economy compared to when Kresge’s vision took shape: innovations once attributed to lone scientists or flashes of individual inspiration are now more often the work of the long-range efforts of large, multidisciplinary research teams. Similarly, in human endeavors ranging from political activism to the entrepreneurial sphere, collaboration counts: often among collaborators who know each other more in the digital world than in the actual one. The collaborative and cooperative nature of the experience at Kresge College prepares students optimally to contribute in such a world.

In 1971 and 1972, Provost Edgar lead a course entitled “Creating Kresge College”. Now, 40+ years later, we have a chance to “re-create” Kresge College. A healthy endowment and ongoing, annual giving will maintain the health of the college programs that made our interdisciplinary community a reality, and will give our students the crucial security they need in their living and learning experience.

Kresge lives to educate, and educates to live. Kresge is an extraordinary group of staff and faculty who imagine, collaborate, and deliberate every day with a dynamic and evolving student body. An annual fund is a way for Kresge friends, family, and alumni to become a powerful source of confidence and support for the things that Kresge has already become, helping us to do those things better.

Abrams E., Camps M., Keilen S., Langhout, G. (2017). Analytical Reading and Other High-Impact Practices Informing Plans for Revising College Core: 8 March 2017 address to Academic Senate, University of California Santa Cruz, 5-6.
Grant, Gerald & David Riesman."The Communal-Expressives". In The Perpetual Dream: Reform and Experiment in the American College. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1978. 77-134.
Monks, J. & Schmidt, R. (2010). The impact of class size and number of students on outcomes in higher education [Electronic version]. Retrieved 24 February 2018 from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations <>