UA Cares Awards New Kind of Trophy
Gold trophies and engraved plaques â€“ they've been done before. So when it came time for the UA Cares Awards Committee to decide on a special way to recognize some of the top campaign contributors, they opted for something a little different.
A motley assortment of objects, including a license plate, a clock face, an Oscar statue, and a metal butterfly with mechanical flapping wings, make up the highest honor awarded by the UA Cares community giving campaign.
The artful trash-to-treasure trophy, created from miscellaneous items unearthed by members of The University of Arizona community and mounted on a rolling golf club caddy, was unveiled Thursday at a celebration to culminate the annual UA Cares campaign.
UA Libraries took home the portable prize, intended to be passed down annually to an outstanding contributor to the campaign.
"We were very surprised. We knew we had done well but we didn't know we had done this well," said Laura Bender, senior director of development for UA Libraries and a UA Cares campaign coordinator.
Participants in UA Cares giving campaign can make contributions to community programs through the United Way or to UA programs through the UA Foundation via fundraisers, food drives or personal pledges.
A consistently active participant in the campaign over the years, UA Libraries raised more than $15,000 for community and UA programs with participation from nearly half of its approximately 160 employees this year, said Holly Altman, director of outreach and community partnerships in the Office of Community Relations.
UA Libraries also held a Build a Mountain of Food drive, collecting 361 pounds of food and $345 in cash for the Tucson Community Food Bank.
The trophy recognizing their efforts is currently turning heads in the Main Library administration office.
"It's a novelty, besides being an honor, so it has a double attraction," Bender said.
With moving parts powered by an electric paper towel dispenser, the sculpture is the creation of Ned Schaper, better known in the art world as Mat Bevel, who does kinetic sculpture and performance art in Tucson. His Mat Bevel Institute Museum of Kinetic Art features art pieces that roll, fold, unfold, wind and unwind.
Several members from the UA Cares Awards Committee approached Schaper about the sculpture idea.
"We were getting tired of plaques," said Pat Stevens, the United Way representative to UA Cares. "We thought this would catch people's attention and be a lot of fun."
There were three criteria for the sculpture: It must be able to fit through a standard-sized door, it must be able to roll from one destination to the next, and it must have some UA identification.
Altman said the trophy will be passed to a different recipient each year based on a variety of factors, including level of participation, creativity and amount of money raised.
This year, UA Cares has raised $389,395 through more than 1,700 gifts, Altman said. While the bulk of employee contributions are made during the campaign's official duration from October to November, they continue to trickle in and can be made throughout the year, Altman said.
"Considering the economic times, we've really held steady with donations," she said.
Nearly 20 other awards were given at Thursday's campaign culmination ceremony, including Campaign Creativity Awards to recognize fundraising innovation and Legacy Awards to honor longstanding events that have become staples of the UA Cares campaign.