UOFC second round applications close, marking the end of semester funding

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Zoe Berg, Photo Editor

The undergraduate fundraising committee closed its second-round requests last Thursday evening, marking the end of another fundraising session in the committee’s $ 350,000 annual budget.

UOFC Director Jad Bataha ’24 said the committee existed “in parallel” to Yale College Council. Bataha said he is working with a team of 15 CFOs to execute the application process, which involves two separate funding rounds each semester. UOFC funding comes “primarily” from the dean’s office at Yale College, according to Bataha, and is designed to support student organization events and activities on campus. The second-round funding request was closed at midnight on October 28, and Bataha said the committee planned to review the requests last weekend and release the decisions early this week.

“Right now the organizations are all very optimistic about getting a lot of money, and people will be disappointed, but we are trying to give all clubs essentially similar amounts of money,” Bataha said.

In the first round of funding applications, which took place in mid-September, more than 200 student organizations submitted applications, Bataha said. Of these, the committee approved partial funding for about 175 groups, providing full funding to between 20 and 30 groups.

The committee has several criteria that it considers when reading the nominations. Committee members look for specific requests, indicating exactly what the requested funding will be used for. Specificity is key to ensuring an equitable distribution of funding across the student body, Bataha says. Ideally, groups will request money for activities directly involving the Yale campus Bataha said that at a minimum, the activity should include the entire organization, rather than just a segment of it.

“The cheese club board should not go to Barcelona for dinner, unlike everyone being involved and having an event for everyone,” Bataha explained.

According to Bataha, the UOFC tries to standardize the funding an organization receives based on the category of club to which it belongs: for example, the committee tends to allocate similar amounts of money to publications. The size of the award is also correlated across the organization, Bataha said. He said the committee is also looking at whether the organizations generate income like publications and takes this into account when awarding the prize.

Committee approves round funding So while student groups have the flexibility to decide whether to list the value of the semester’s events or just a portion of their application, the committee will only fund events that run until the next round of funding, when groups can apply again.

Ethan Dong ’24, treasurer of Code Haven, said the organization has requested funding from the UOFC every year since at least 2018.

Dong described his experience with the application process as “fairly straightforward” and “well organized”, calling the app itself “fairly intuitive to navigate”.

According to Dong, UOFC’s funding is “generous” and constitutes a significant portion of Code Haven’s revenue. Code Haven tends to use UOFC funding to support community outreach efforts, Dong said. He also noted that the process for reimbursing club expenses approved by the UOFC was “fairly quick”.

The UOFC money helped Code Haven fund the group’s food budget and mentor-mentee meeting supplies, Dong added. The money also supports some of Code Haven’s larger-scale events, such as Demo Day, when club members organize campus tours for college students and help them envision a future in IT. Code Haven also hosts an event called Teach Tech which coordinates speaker events, seminars, and networking opportunities for educators in the New Haven area. UOFC funding also supports this event, Dong said.

Dong added that he believes the money the UOFC is currently giving to Code Haven is adequate, and added that many Code Haven events are still virtual due to the pandemic, which has reduced costs. He also noted that the organization also accesses funding through Dwight Hall and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Stefy Grau ’22, former Commercial Director of the Out of the Blue a cappella group (OOTB) and current member of the senior group Whim ‘n Rhythm, applied for funding from UOFC during his second year as Commercial Director of the OOTB. The first time Grau applied, she received $ 200, one-fifth of the funding requested in her application. She said the money helps cover costs associated with hosting concerts, such as renting performance space and hiring sound engineers and videographers.

According to Grau, the second time she applied, she submitted a virtually identical application, but received $ 70, which “wasn’t even enough for a pizza dinner for the 25 of us in the group.” . After this cycle, the OOTB stopped seeking funding from the UOFC.

“We realized that this was not a decisive amount, and at the end of the day we still have our own budget funded largely by alumni. [donations], concert tickets and stuff that has been passed down over the years, ”Grau said. “We realized it wasn’t going to make a huge difference. This is helpful, but honestly getting over the hurdle of applying and then not hearing back for a while and not knowing how much you are going to get it’s just not something worth budgeting for.

In the spring semester, in addition to the two traditional funding cycles, there will be a collaborative cycle, during which groups can submit joint funding requests to organize events together.

New to this cycle, the committee has made information sessions compulsory for groups of students wishing to apply for funding at the second cycle. Bataha said he made the change after noticing during the review of first-round applications that some organizations did not seem clear about the types of expenses UOFC funded. Information sessions were held between October 18 and 28, according to the YCC website.

After the committee releases funding decisions, Bataha sends these results to the college’s business operations office, which works with treasury departments to coordinate the recovery of approved funds. Groups must submit receipts for all expenses funded by the UOFC, Bataha said, and those receipts must be submitted before an organization can apply for the next funding round. Groups that do not submit receipts are prohibited from accessing funding for one year.

While the funds are currently only cash, Bataha said he hopes to digitize the process.

Before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bataha said, the committee was less standardized, organizing up to five funding rounds per semester. Bataha’s goals for the year are to standardize the application process and create a record of UOFC’s “institutional memory”. Grau agreed that the committee could benefit from more institutional knowledge.

“I feel like with every leadership transition there is a lot of discrepancy in terms of the amount of budget allocated,” said Grau.

Some of the steps Bataha has taken to achieve these goals include publishing an executive summary after each funding cycle and creating a personal calendar of his activities as director.

The UOFC fundraising appeal process will open on November 2.




OLIVIA TUCKER




Olivia Tucker is in charge of politics and student affairs. Previously, she was Associate Editor of Yale Daily News Magazine and covered gender equity and diversity as a reporter. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she is a second year student at Davenport College majoring in English.

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