The UCSB First Committee has announced that proceeds collected from the Class of 2013’s Senior Class Gift will fund the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund and the Associated Students Community Financial Fund.

Both organizations provide financial assistance to UCSB students based on an assessment of merit and financial-based need. The Alumni Association Scholarship Fund gives $2,000 to every student in need of financial assistance, while the Community Financial Fund gives up to $400 grants to students who qualify after successful completion of an application process including essay-writing, workshop attendance and a quiz.

Community Financial Fund coordinator Jose Raygoza said students have become more receptive to the grant with each passing quarter.

“It’s become very popular with the student body,” Raygoza said. “We have a cap every quarter and we’ve reached the cap for winter quarter. Students are becoming more aware of the services that Associated Students provides.”

UCSB First Committee — the organization of student volunteers planning the Senior Class gift campaign — will host activities and events for the student body in an effort to promote widespread philanthropy amongst the campus community.

According to Co-President of First Committee and Co-Chair of the Senior Class campaign Justine Pointer, student donations that fund the Senior Class gift allow students to help their peers in the spirit of giving.

“Basically the reason we do this is because we are trying to engage students and teach them about the importance of student philanthropy,” said Pointer. “It’s important to give back.”

Though the First Committee is only running its second year, the senior class gift has been a tradition since 1999, with previous gifts including renovations to Storke Tower and the Rec Cen. In light of the recent economic recession, however, the senior class gift has leaned toward philanthropic causes geared toward UCSB students.

According to Senior Campaign and First Committee Co-Chair Casey McCulloh, the current lackluster state budget has amounted to a majority of university funding to come from donations.

“The reason we do what we do is because UCSB only gets 16 percent of its funding from the state now, which means 84 percent has to come from donors,” McCulloh. “Our main goal is to give this culture of giving, so when people graduate they’ll be so willing to give back.”

With low state funding for the university, the senior class gift has allowed progression toward philanthropic causes aimed to help students in need.

“That’s why specifically we chose these two organizations. Student scholarships are the best thing to be giving to,” said McCulloh. “It’s students giving back to students; it’s exactly what we’re trying to do with this.”

Last year the committee raised $73,000 in donations to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund and the Rec Sports Legacy Fund. This year the goal is to raise $150,000 for the Senior Class Gift along with increasing donation pledges from 21 percent.

A version of this article appeared on page 3 of the February 8th 2013’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.