Central Washington University opened its doors as the Washington State Normal School in 1891. Five years later, the doors opened at renowned Ellensburg retailer Fitterer’s Furniture. The two entities are now more closely aligned than ever.
Brad Fitterer, president and owner of Fitterer’s Furniture, has been named the new chair of the CWU Foundation Board of Directors. Fitterer is now in his fourth year on the foundation board.
“I’ve always had a real interest in education and I’d always been a supporter of Central in a number of different ways, but I’d never really involved myself with the university,” said Fitterer about his initial interest in joining the board. “At that point in time, I just felt called to start getting a little more involved.”
Fitterer says the foundation board was a perfect place for him to get more involved because, “It’s about assisting students and faculty financially, to be able to stay in school or grow professionally. It’s something I understand; parlaying dollars to their best use, either through raising the funds or wise investing.”
Founded in 1968, the CWU Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation, governed privately by its 20-member volunteer board, with the mission of supporting CWU. The State of Washington currently provides only about 30 percent of the university’s budget, down from 70 percent just four years ago. That makes donations to Central through the foundation now more important than ever.
Fitterer is quick to point out that he is just part of a talented administrative team that includes CWU alumnus Robert Nellams, the vice-chair, from Seattle, where he is the Seattle Center director; Patricia Galloway, treasurer, Cle Elum, chief executive director of Pegasus-Global; and Stan Loosmore, secretary, Seattle, a retired United States Coast Guard officer, lawyer, and Ellensburg cattle rancher.
“There are a number of Central alums [on the CWU Foundation board], but there are a lot of other people that believe in the university and what it’s doing, and have devoted themselves to seeing Central and the foundation succeed,” he pointed out.
As his two-year term begins, Fitterer says the board will first complete its reviewing and updating of policies and procedures, along with tackling other “nuts and bolt” issues. When completed, he says the foundation board will then need to get prepared for its next all-encompassing fundraising campaign.
“I think that the university is poised to have a very large campaign that reaches out—not just to alumni and existing grant providers—but also to other communities,” he says. “Central’s becoming far more important to central Washington than it has been in a long time.”
Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 8, 2013