About Friends of Cal


                       Issues

Friends of Cal believes that U.C. Berkeley would be better equipped to deal with the many challenges it faces if it had more autonomy.  The current governance system - based on a 50 year old master plan for higher education - does not reflect the changed sources of revenues or the different paths that campuses are taking to manage their futures.  By allowing more decisions to be made locally, the University's governance structure would become more efficient and effective.


              Background

While UC Berkeley remains a leading university in every respect - talented professors, highly competitive research, and excellent educational and career opportunities for a diverse student body - the state support for the campus has suffered dramatically in recent decades.  There has been an erosion of understanding amongst decision makers about Berkeley's economic, jobs and innovative research capabilities and the impact of Berkeley's greatest asset:  its diverse student body.


There is a need to continually educate and remind state and federal decision-makers that U.C. Berkeley is a significant driver of the California economy and a contributor towards solving many of the world's most pressing global challenges such as health, energy and the environment.  To inform them more assertively and continuously, effective professionally advocacy is needed to supplement campus efforts to attain Berkeley's laudable goals and objectives.


The challenges for U.C. Berkeley are many.  Berkeley currently enrolls more than 11,000 students for whom the state does not provide funding.  Repair and construction needs are substantial, including very significant seismic safety issues.  Financial aid needs are critical, with over one-third of Cal's undergraduates coming from families earning less than $45,000 per year - more than all of the Ivy league schools combined.  Private donations provide scholarship assistance however if Cal is to provide access for all students, regardless of the ability to pay, financial aid must be addressed in a more substantive manner by policy-makers in order to be sustainable. 


Declining funding from the state year after year has resulted in serious cuts to the campus.  In 2004, Berkeley received $450 million from the state and in 2015 it received approximately $280 million.  Two decades ago, state funding represented nearly 50% of Berkeley's funding; now it is just 13%.  Because of this decrease in financial support from the state, UC Berkeley now faces a crisis-level $150 million deficit which is approximately 6% of the campus budget.  UC Berkeley is not only in serious competition for state funding and support but now faces budget cuts that threaten its status of the nation's premier university.


For the first time the state's investment in Berkeley's budget will be less than the contributions made by students.  What used to be Berkeley's chief source of support has now been reduced to its fourth;  state support has fallen behind the level of resources provided by federal research funding, philanthropy, and student fees.


Friends of Cal believes that UC Berkeley should be given the freedom to raise funds based on its unique characteristics and challenges, such as managing the size and make up of the student body.  It is bringing these governance and other high priority issues to the attention of the Legislature, the Governor, the Regents, and policy and opinion leaders in California in order to build the Berkeley brand to its potential and for excellence and pioneering achievement.


                    Contact

Please contact Jim Bruner, one of the founders of Friends of Cal, at jwbruner@orrick.com










               Our Approach


Friends of Cal is moving forward with a coordinated approach of advocacy and outreach to elevate Berkeley's voice, mission and value to Californians.


While serving as an independent entity, Friends of Cal coordinates with officials on the Berkeley campus to further advocacy goals, heighten Berkeley's profile within state government and the people of California and build working relationships with key policy and decision-makers for long term leveraging of political clout.



               Friends of Cal          

            Mission Statement


Friends of Cal is an independent group of University of California, Berkeley alumni, California business and civic leaders, Cal parents, and others committed to promoting and protecting the interests of U.C. Berkeley, the world's leader in public education, research and public service.  Friends of Cal was formed to meet today's challenging fiscal environment and a period of volatile public policy and political rancor with a vigorous and unwavering program of education and spirited advocacy.  The goal is to ensure that U.C. Berkeley remains America's leading public university, the path to the future for young Californians and the engine that ignites the economic and intellectual future of our state.



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