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Office of Alumni Giving to host first fundraising campaign in over 10 years


Michael Cummings, Community Editor

The College will soon begin its first capital campaign in almost twenty years. This new fundraising plan was recently announced by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations in an email sent out to the campus by Dixon Romeo ’16.

Capital campaigns are fundraising outreach initiatives designed to raise money for specific purposes. Non-profit organizations often use capital campaigns to meet specifically defined goals.

Open forums were held on Wednesday, April 27, at noon and 7:00 p.m. by Romeo; Shane Jacobson, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations; and Adam Laug, Director of Development, in order for students to brainstorm fundraising goals.

“We approach fundraising through three different buckets of donors and gift types,” Jacobson said. “Most every gift we receive at the College, more than 10,000 gifts every year, are what we consider annual gifts — gifts less than 5,000 dollars. In fact the median gift to Grinnell College is 150 dollars.”

“Higher up what we call the donor pyramid, [we have] a much smaller subset of donors who have a capacity and affinity to make gifts to the College of 25,000 dollars or more,” Jacobson said. “At the very top of what we call the donor pyramid are the prospective principal gifts donors, those donors who have the capacity and affinity to make gifts of half a million dollars or more.”

Fundraising Campaign GraphicRomeo explained that the campaign will be student-centered, and will take significant input on fundraising goals from the student body.

“What the fundraising in the campaign is working to organize in an active way [is to] get, as Shane mentioned, the donors’ interests aligned with the students’ interest,” Romeo said.

Jacobson continued, explaining that another goal of the campaign is to permanently raise the baseline amount the College receives in gifts every year.

“In the end, if we do this right, if we have the right priorities, donors get excited, campus is really engaged [and] we aspire to achieve a heightened level of annual fundraising production when the campaign is over,” Jacobson said.

As part of the forum, Jacobson asked students to break up into pairs to discuss ideas for fundraising initiatives. Some ideas which were discussed included funding to assist Grinnell Police in locating the people who drive through campus shouting racial slurs and funding to purchase renewable energy sources for the College.

“These dollars and these gifts affect all these different types of services that we receive and the College has interest in, but also anything we can really think of that we want to be on campus, that we want to see on campus, building a new service, a new program, policy, anything that you can think of is something that’s worthy of talking about,” Romeo said.

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