UCR SoBA receives $200,000 donation from SolarMax

Taken by Leena Butt

On Nov. 5, UCR’s School of Business Administration (SoBA) received a $200,000 donation from SolarMax Technology Inc. Dedicated to the A. Gary Anderson School of Management, this gift will create a fellowship fund for graduates that are in need of financial aid. Taking the form of an investment fund, the interest accrued on the endowment will seek to fill the fellowship reserve.

SolarMax Technology, an environmentally-friendlycompany, handles the installation and maintenance of solar power systems in residential and commercial markets, according to UCR Today. In early August, the company decided to relocate its main headquarters to the city of Riverside, bringing with it 1,600 jobs. Through the fellowship fund, the company sought to strengthen local relationships within the community. A board of faculty appointed by SoBA’s director of development, Jeff Kaatz will then disperse the fellowships to eligible candidates.

As a new relationship between the company and the university develops, the echoing effects will also be visible in the Riverside community.  “I think it’s a company that appreciates and really respects what goes on here at the university in terms of research and community support,” said Kaatz. “I think they’re just being a good partner and neighbor for us too.”

In the same spirit, SolarMax Technology Executive Vice President Ching Liu said, “We’re proud to be part of a community that is also home to the University of California, Riverside. We plan to continue our relationship with UCR… [and] the university’s business school,” in a UCR Today article. In addition, the company plans to renovate its central headquarters, an old historic building located in the city of Riverside. Through environmentally-friendly initiatives such as the installation of solar panels, the company hopes to increase the community’s green energy technology.

Kaatz works closely with an advisory council that helps the dean of SoBA, Yunzeng Wang, foster relationships with alumni and community business leaders in Riverside. Together, they help to facilitate relationships with businesses in the community. “The type of relationship we have with SolarMax is very supportive. They’re supportive of what we do, and they open doors for us too,” stated Kaatz.

The next steps for the fellowship includes the creation of an endowment fund, which will be invested to sustain funding for graduate students,  due to the need for an initial stream of funding. As a new endowment, Kaatz expects that it may take a year before SoBA can present the award to a student. Yet, she stated that the fellowship will be beneficial for both UCR and SolarMax as a long-term opportunity.

“This will allow the business school to recruit and retain the most qualified students we possibly can get. Because if we can get them some assistance, and help them defray some of the costs, then that allows us to get more and better students. That helps raise the level of prestige of the school and the university…it’s a common goal we all have,” stated Kaatz.

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