How to support UC? Plant trees, rock your tutu, use your imagination

Give up cigarettes? Wear a tutu to work? Perform 1,000 hours of community service? Change your name to “Stardust” for a year? Plant 2,500 trees?

What are you willing to do to help a student in financial need pursue a University of California undergraduate degree?

Promise for Education how-to graphicUC supporters are invited to leverage their creativity and their social networks in a crowdfunding campaign that promises to be fast and fun and as far-out as participants choose to make it.

“Promise for Education” launches Wednesday, Sept. 18, when UC supporters can log onto the campaign website,, make a promise, set a funding goal and announce that goal via Facebook, Twitter and/or e-mail.

An initial group of celebrities, students, alums and notables has already made Promise for Education pledges.

Among these early adopters are acting talents Jamie Foxx, David Spade, Gabrielle Union and John Cho ’96, as well as NBA player Matt Barnes. Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to host a brown-bag lunch for students — one from each UC campus — once he’s made his $10,000 goal.

At Berkeley, Chancellor Nick Dirks promises to jog through campus, hike to the top of Charter Hill and repaint the Big C.

“You can join me at the beginning or meet me at the top, where we can get acquainted, pick up our paintbrushes and take in the views of our beautiful campus and the Bay Area at this treasured Berkeley landmark,” Dirks says on his Promise for Education page.

“I promise to bungee jump if I raise $5,000,” says Berkeley alum Ana Lilia in a video on her promise page. “I was able to attended UCB because of scholarships…. You can give a little, help the future, help more like myself go to college.

“And don’t think that bungee jumping is something that I want to do,” she adds.”It’s not.”

pledges on FacebookPromise for Education is the latest addition to Project You Can, an effort to raise $1 billion for student scholarships and grants by the end of 2014 to fill the gap left by dramatic cuts in state funding to the UC system. Project You Can has raised $700 million so far.

Promise for Education participants can choose to direct contributions to a specific UC campus or to an umbrella fund that supports students on multiple campuses. Dollars raised by the campaign will not displace, but be in addition to, UC’s existing financial-aid programs. The campaign runs for six weeks, ending Oct. 31.

To make a promise or learn more, visit the Promise for Education website or follow on Facebook. To see videos created by participants, check out this webpage.