WUMB Kicks off $7 Million Capital Campaign at UMass Boston

Kiley Danchise-Curtis and Crystal Bozek | September 13, 2010
Judy Collins performs at the WUMB Gala on August 11.

Judy Collins performs at the WUMB Gala on August 11.

WUMB 91.9 FM kicked off its “Preserving the Past, Building the Future” Capital Campaign last month with performances by two music legends and the support of more than 450 people – some who flew in from across the country – at its WUMB Fundraising Gala.

The August 11 event, which featured multiple Grammy winner Judy Collins, Tom Rush, and Kenny White, raised more than $75,000 for the folk and roots station through ticket purchases and donations from long-time listeners-- a great start to an ambitious five-year, $7 million-fundraising endeavor.

UMass President Jack Wilson, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, former Chancellors Michael Collins and David MacKenzie, and State Representative Jay Kaufman were all in attendance at the Campus Center Ballroom to celebrate the station’s achievements over its last 28 years here at UMass Boston, and also look to the future.

“The station matters to so many—listeners, donors, community groups, performance venues, musicians, and to UMass Boston and our students,” Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Kathleen Teehan told the crowd. “The station reaches thousands who know us because they are listeners. It brings attention to UMass Boston from audiences that may not know us otherwise.”

Chancellor Motley echoed that sentiment.

“WUMB is much more than just a typical radio station. This university is so proud to have this public radio station here on our campus,” he said. “It’s part of this community.”

Not only did the gala audience get to watch Collins, Rush, and White perform in such an intimate setting, but they were treated to a performance by local up-and-comer Carolyn Waters, a WUMB Summer Acoustic Music Week student for the past nine years. Folk artist and author Scott Alarik emceed, and the night ended with Judy Collins singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

Collins and Rush, along with singer-songwriter Vance Gilbert, will serve as cochairs of the WUMB Capital Campaign.

WUMB General Manager Pat Monteith said the station would use the $7 million raised by the Capital Campaign to rebuild and relocate to new facilities, improve and expand the station’s signal across New England, broaden its already extensive educational initiatives, digitize its archives, and build an endowment able to support the station for years to come.

WUMB is headquartered in UMass Boston’s Healey Library, with additional stations located in Worcester, Falmouth, Orleans, and Newburyport. The station serves an estimated 150,000 listeners through the radio and Internet every week, with listeners from all 50 states, seven continents, and 103 countries. WUMB also offers public affairs programming like Commonwealth Journal, and partners with Boston Public Schools, libraries, and community organizations to host The Big Read.

Monteith, who has personally pledged $10,000 over the next five years, said with a larger space, the station could offer an after-school program for local children, and a studio with seating for small live audiences.

“I’m excited to have Judy, Tom, and Vance on board as cochairs,” Monteith said. “It is a testament to just how important WUMB is to the folk and roots community. It’s really going to take every single one of us to make a commitment if we want to move to this next level.”

The WUMB Gala was also a way to honor Monteith, who turned 60 that day. Monteith was one of a group of UMass Boston students who launched WUMB in 1968 as a closed-circuit on-campus station and campaigned for 14 years to get the station on the air, which it did in 1982. Local community leader Michael Curry presented Monteith with a citation from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino thanking her for “over 40 years of dedication” to UMass Boston and the station.

For more information on the Capital Campaign, visit www.wumb.org/capitalcampaign.

Tags: community , the point , wumb

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