What is the Charter Hill Society?+

The Charter Hill Society is a special philanthropic circle recognizing donors for their annual gifts to UC Berkeley. Your annual giving totaling $1,000 or more (or at lower levels for current students and alums of the last decade) 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?+

The Charter Hill Society is named after Charter Hill that overlooks the Berkeley campus, San Francisco Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The gold block “C” has graced the hill’s western slope for almost 120 years, ever since the sophomore and freshman classes of 1905 put aside their rivalry to construct it on March 23, 1905.

In the late 1800s, Charter Day ceremonies featured representative speakers from the senior, junior, and sophomore classes — but not the freshman class. The freshmen retaliated with various shenanigans. One year, the freshmen erected a giant wooden elephant. Another year, they surreptitiously unfurled a freshman banner. Later, they began to carve their class year on the hill above the campus. The sophomore class would attempt to protect the hill from the freshmen’s antics by rolling the freshmen down the hill. In 1905, the two classes put aside their rivalry and worked together to construct the “Big C”, a permanent concrete letter “C” on Charter Hill. Since then, Charter Hill and the “Big C” have symbolized the university’s founding ideals, strong sense of community, and unwavering spirit.

How do I become a member of the Charter Hill Society?+

Charter Hill Society membership begins when your total giving during the fiscal year (July 1–June 30) reaches $1,000 or more. Current students and recent alums are offered GOLDS memberships at $250 or more for current students or graduates one to four years after graduation or at $500 or more for donors five to nine years after graduation. 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 tiers?+

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

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

No. Annual giving refers to gifts made to any fund during the campus’s fiscal year (July 1–June 30). 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 UC 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 UC Berkeley’s students, alums, parents, and friends is an important source of support and has powerful effects on campus. Your gifts help preserve and enhance Berkeley’s excellence in education, research, and public service. The collective generosity of the Charter Hill Society provides a dependable major philanthropic revenue source on which Cal can build its future.

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

The society recognizes your annual giving across all the areas you support at UC Berkeley. In addition, many schools, colleges, and programs recognize annual giving through their own donor recognition programs. Each of those has its own set of giving levels, benefits, and methods for recognizing donors. Learn about other recognition programs at Berkeley.

Do matching gifts count toward Charter Hill Society 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 Society membership?+

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

How do I contact you?+

If you have questions about your giving or your Charter Hill Society membership, please contact Donor Relations by using the contact form below.

We want to hear from you!

Get in touch with the Donor Relations team with your questions.