A new educational foundation for Florida Alpha will help to facilitate tax-deductible gifts to the Campaign for Florida Alpha. The campaign is a $4 million effort to fund the renovation of the chapter house.
A campaign committee led by Kevin Wilkinson (Spring 1984) has been quietly raising funds over the last few years. During the campaign’s leadership fundraising phase, the campaign has secured more than $1.3 million in gifts and pledges.
The campaign website www.yoursinthebond.org contains all the information about the vision for the future of the chapter house, lists of existing donors and naming opportunities and a link to get involved.
“While we’re now in the campaign’s public phase and are working to secure a broad base of donors, establishing this new foundation will address specific donor situations where a 501(c)3 is required to accept the gift,” Wilkinson said.
The new foundation required a new set of leaders to serve as its board. Jamie Meehan (Spring 1982) agreed to serve as the new Foundation’s president. Other members of the board are secretary Adam Wilczewski (Fall 1996) and treasurer Steve Cameron (Fall 1982).
“Fraternity activities, such as recruitment and social events are not considered tax-deductible by the IRS, so the majority of fundraising for a chapter house is not tax-deductible,” Meehan said. “However, educational activity of the chapter is tax-deductible. Therefore, the IRS allows the square footage of the chapter house that’s entirely educational in nature to be funded with tax-deductible contributions.”
To arrive at the allocation of tax-deductibility, the percentage of the total project that is designated as educational space is determined. That percentage is then applied to the entire cost of the project. The resulting number is the amount that can be raised with funds that are tax-deductible.
For example, if a chapter house has 5,000 square feet and 1,000 square feet has been determined to be 100% educational, 20% of the total project cost can be raised with tax-deductible funds. The allocation for the Florida Alpha project is 30%, which equates to approximately $2.5 million.
“Because of the relatively small percentage of tax-deductibility, we’ve asked most of our donors to support the project directly through the Florida Alpha Chapter House Association. We need to reserve tax-deductibility for situations that absolutely require non-profit status,” Meehan said.
House corporation treasurer Brian Allen said, “It’s imperative we succeed in this campaign to continue to secure the best men interested in joining a fraternity.”
“UF has a master plan to buy up all the property on University Ave and to move down 2nd Avenue and downtown. The classes for freshman and sophomores have been moving to University and 13th. The chapter’s location is the best location at the University of Florida at the gateway of campus to attract the best new members,” Allen said.
“The planned house has a great layout for the brothers to get the most out of their experience at UF. And it also includes an Alumni Room, which will be under lock and key most of the time, only available for use when alumni are in town. It will have air conditioning, clean facilities, and overall, a comfortable place for alumni to gather when they are in town on game weekends,” he said. “It’s going to be a great environment for the undergraduates to meet the alumni.”
The alumni leadership of the campaign and the house corporation have planned this project with the competition in mind. Sigma Phi Epsilon recently completed a $4.5 million renovation. ATO also recently completed a $5.5 million renovation. Pi Kappa Phi recently completed a $5.3 million project.
“There’s so much to this story. I would welcome the opportunity to share our planning and the progress we’ve made with interested brothers,” Wilkinson said.
In the campaign’s silent phase, nearly 80 brothers have either made an outright gift or pledge with an average of nearly $17,000 committed over a five-year period.
“What we need now,” Wilkinson said, “are many more brothers to get excited about this project. We know that we need 20 percent of our living alumni to participate, which translates into at least 500 brothers supporting the campaign.”
“With so many alumni to contact, what the campaign needs now more than anything are pledge class agents–brothers willing to roll up their sleeves and organize brothers from their era to learn about the project and ask others to support,” Wilkinson said.
If you are interested in learning more about the project, to make a gift, or get involved as a pledge class agent visit www.yoursinthebond.org.