FAQ

What is The Charter Hill Society?

The Charter Hill Society is a special philanthropic circle, recognizing donors for their annual gifts to the University of California, Berkeley. Your annual contributions totaling $1,000 or more to any school, college, department, or program establishes and sustains your membership in this important community.

How did The Charter Hill Society get its name?

In the late 1800s, Charter Day ceremonies featured representative speakers from the senior, junior, and sophomore classes — but not the freshman class. Not to be left out, one year the freshmen erected a giant wooden elephant, and another year they surreptitiously unfurled a freshman banner. Later, they began to carve their class year on the hill above the campus for all to see. The sophomores retaliated with Charter Hill Rush — an annual “battle” producing injuries and bad publicity — but in 1905 the two classes put aside their rivalry and worked together to construct a permanent block “C” in concrete on Charter Hill. Since then, it has symbolized the university’s founding ideals, strong sense of community, and unwavering spirit.

How do I become a member of The Charter Hill Society?  

Membership in Charter Hill begins when your total giving during the fiscal year (July 1–June 30) reaches $1,000 or more. Your gifts to any school, college, department, or program at Berkeley during the fiscal year count toward participation in The Charter Hill Society. Membership in Charter Hill is renewable on an annual basis.

What are The Charter Hill Society’s tiers?

The tiers and benefits of Charter Hill are progressive, increasing in accordance with your level of giving: as your giving grows, so does your level of information, access, and engagement with the campus community. Visit the “Benefits” page for more information on each tier.

Does “annual giving” mean gifts to Berkeley’s annual funds exclusively?

The term “annual giving” refers to gifts made to any fund during the campus’s fiscal year; it also describes recurrent giving on an annual basis. “Annual funds” are funds established specifically to receive unrestricted gifts — assets that can be deployed at the discretion of the Chancellor, the dean of a school or college, or a program director, enabling Berkeley to act swiftly on needs or opportunities as they arise throughout the year. If you give to a campus annual fund, that generosity will be included in the calculation of your participation in The Charter Hill Society; if you give to any of the other funds or programs on the campus, those gifts count toward your Charter Hill membership, too.

Why does annual support matter?

Annual giving from Berkeley’s alumni, parents, and friends is an important source of support and has a powerful impact on the campus. Your gifts help preserve and enhance Berkeley’s excellence in education, research, and public service. The collective generosity of The Charter Hill Society membership provides a dependable major revenue source on which Cal can build its future, and raises the philanthropic bar to inspire others.

How does The Charter Hill Society relate to other Berkeley recognition programs?

Charter Hill recognizes your annual giving across all of the areas you support at Berkeley. In addition, many campus schools, colleges, and programs recognize annual giving through their own donor recognition programs, each of which has its own set of giving levels, benefits, and methods for recognizing donors.

Do matching gifts count toward Charter Hill membership?

Corporate matching gifts (for instance, those from your employer) that have been received by Berkeley and applied to your giving record count toward the calculation of your Charter Hill Society membership.

Do pledges count toward Charter Hill membership?

Contributions you make toward your pledges count toward your Charter Hill Society membership level; the pledges themselves do not.

How do I contact you?

If you have questions about your giving or your Charter Hill Society membership status, please contact Donor Services at or 510.642.1212.