The Annual Fund: A Powerful Force

Ann HarrisWhile it is true that a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to, there are still ways to make every dollar count. For instance, when thousands of College supporters direct their gift to the Annual Fund, dollars multiply quickly and the resulting force is nothing short of powerful.

The power is found not only in the bottom line, but also in the impact that Annual Fund dollars have. At the College, Dean Michael Kotlikoff has used Annual Fund dollars to lower financial barriers for those who want to earn a veterinary degree but find the price out of reach. He has used these dollars to jumpstart projects that will surely qualify for external funding once initial results have been demonstrated. And he has leveraged gifts to the Annual Fund to attract and retain faculty who will lead this College through the the 21st century. Simply stated, the Dean directs Annual Fund resources to the most important needs at the College – needs that can sometimes be predicted, but are often spontaneous opportunities that would be a shame to miss.

“I always knew about the annual fund,” said Ann Harris, ’77 DVM ’83, creator of and annual contributor to the Rockacres Veterinary Scholarship, which is named in honor of her practice – Rockacres Veterinary Hospital. “I just never considered the idea that I could support more than one area of the college.”

This year, for the first time, Harris contributed to both her scholarship and the Annual Fund. With the scholarship, she is supporting a student who exemplifies the characteristics that Harris, who earned the Gentle Doctor award as a student, believes are important in veterinary practice: caring and compassion; a willingness to go the extra mile; and a commitment to advocate for the patient and respect the client’s needs and situation.

“Giving to the Annual Fund touched a spark in me,” said Harris, who is currently an emeritus member of the College’s Advisory Council, has served on the College’s Alumni Board, and is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Committee, which is a volunteer group charged with helping increase unrestricted giving to the College. “I have seen the diversity of the College. I have worked closely with Dean [Donald] Smith and Dean Kotlikoff. I admire them both and have faith that the Dean’s Office will use gifts to the Annual Fund wisely.”

Harris credits her high level of trust to her increased knowledge of the College, its goals, and immediate activities, something she says that everyone can have. Staying in touch, she says, is as easy as reading the College’s publications, attending Reunion, or communicating with the Alumni Affairs and Development Office.

“Giving back to Cornell is a no-brainer for me,” said Harris, who has also served on the University’s Council. “I love my profession. Cornell provided a wonderful education. Part of my commitment comes from who I am as a person. Part of it, though, can be traced to where I came from."