An E-giving ‘first’ — Longest-running donors (since 1969!) are first online

Every autumn for 42 years, Dr. Herbert and Crystal Sandmire have written a check in support of their hometown university, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Not this year.

This time, the couple dispensed with the check-writing ritual and, in doing so, opened a new era for UW-Green Bay and its current and future supporters.

On Aug. 17, the couple tapped out a few words, names and numbers at the computer keyboard at their Allouez home, clicked the “Make Donation” button and became the very first online donors to forward a gift directly to the newly formed University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Foundation, Inc.

University records identify the Sandmires as having the longest uninterrupted string of annual giving among the thousands of private individuals who have supported UW-Green Bay and its students over the years.

In recognition, Advancement Office staff members made sure the Sandmires were first to know when the site was made “live.” Herb and Crystal responded immediately, via laptop computer and credit card, to extend their streak to 43 consecutive annual gifts.

“We have always been committed to education,” Herb Sandmire says. “This world needs top-notch educational institutions. Therefore, that’s our number one priority and why we donate annually to our named scholarships at both UW-Green Bay and St. Norbert College, and why we have made major gifts to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.”

The Sandmires have a special history with UW-Green Bay.

They became good friends with founding chancellor Edward Weidner shortly after his arrival in Green Bay as the new University’s first employee, in the late 1960s. They made their first philanthropic contribution in 1969.

Herb Sandmire, already an occasional lecturer at the two-year Green Bay Center on Deckner Street, continued and increased his involvement as a guest presenter at the new four-year campus. He recalls frequent visits to classes involving faculty members such as John Shier and Thea Sager.

Crystal became a charter member of the UW-Green Bay Founders Association in the early 1970s and later served on the executive committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and the Arts at UW-Green Bay in 1980.

They established the Dr. Herbert and Crystal Sandmire Scholarship at UW-Green Bay, and continue to grow the principal with their annual gifts, serving more students each year.

“Our scrapbook is filled with thank-you’s from scholarship recipients,” says Crystal.

Herb, who had had many occasions to interact professionally with UW-Green Bay students and follow the success of graduates in his five decades as a physician, says the institution has made a positive contribution to healthcare in the area.

“I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the instruction over the years and many of the students who have gone through the laboratory instruction, and pursued careers in health sciences or medicine.”

Herb Sandmire includes several references to the University and its people in his recently published autobiography, Making a Difference: One Man’s Journey. Information on that book is included in a separate post.

It’s easy!

Online Giving Screen Capture

The August 2011 launch of the new online giving site coincides with creation of the independent UW-Green Bay Foundation, Inc. Donors who formerly had to access the UW-Madison foundation site to direct their philanthropy toward Green Bay now enjoy an easy, direct (and secure) connection to UW-Green Bay.

Visitors to www.uwgb.edu/foundation/ who click the “Give Online” button will find a simple, short and straight-forward form that also includes a pull-down list of giving options. (In the Sandmires’ case, they used the pull-down option to easily designate their annual gift to the Herbert F. and Crystal J. Sandmire Scholarship.)

The site accepts Visa and MasterCard payment.