This spring, the Office of Alumni and Development is encouraging students and alumni to share not only their love for Drake, but also a love of giving back.
After a year and a half, distinctlyDrake has raised more than half of its $200 million goal. The fundraising campaign, which began its quiet phase in 2007, has raised roughly $110 million since its official launch in October 2010.
“We have a tremendous amount of pride associated with the fact that 71 percent of that $110 million is in gifts and short-term pledges,” said John Smith, the vice president for alumni and development at Drake.
The other 29 percent of funds were in the form of deferred gift commitments, monetary donations that have been included in estates or other amounts promised to the university in the future.
The program was established with the hope for Drake “to be and be recognized as one of the best institutions of higher education in the United States,” Smith said.
“Our main goal is to connect all of the people that love Drake,” said Drake senior and Student Alumni Ambassador Ann Schnoebelen. “That’s what is awesome about getting to meet and know alums is that you’re out making sure they have a connection.”
Since the 2010 launch, the Office of Alumni and Development has hosted 16 distinctlyDrake events across the country for alumni and sponsored three week-long Philanthropy at Drake programs on campus.
“We want to create an environment where our alumni, our faculty, our students and our community feel comfortable talking openly about their affection for this place and for each other,” Smith said. “When that happens, that recognition that philanthropy transformed gets passed along to each generation, and that sense of ownership of the university’s future gets passed along to each generation.”
The most recent philanthropy week was held in February 2012 and focused on what students and alumni love about the university. While the event was held to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the time of year also marks the point when students’ tuition dollars run out and university funding begins relying on alternate funding.
“Typically, if you really like your institution and you feel that you’ve had a good experience, the hope is, the wish is, that you’ll make a gift back to support the institution,” said Pam Pepper, Drake’s director of development operations and director of annual fund programs.
Funding from the distinctlyDrake campaign not only benefits the Drake Fund but also finances student scholarships, endowed professorships, campus renovations and centers for interdisciplinary learning.
“What we hope happens is that you’ll see it in real cultural change, that Drake will become a place that is defined in multiple ways,” Smith said. “But one of them is its commitment to produce global citizens through these programs that are funded through philanthropy.”
Both Smith and Pepper hope that campus events will remind students that giving back to their university is important, regardless of how early it is in their academic career.
For the first time, in the fall of 2011, the Office of Alumni and Development asked Drake undergraduates to make a contribution to the campaign to benefit student scholarships. In order to receive a matching donation of $11,000 by National Alumni Board President Joe Aiello and his wife Leslie, students exceeded the 11 percent participation goal with 14 percent of students giving some sort of monetary gift.
“Pay it forward,” Pepper said. “Make a difference. Help pay for those people that are coming after you so that they can have a similar experience, better experience, different experience.”
One of the goals of the Philanthropy at Drake events is to raise awareness among students about how much their education is impacted by philanthropic gifts, Pepper said.
“From the equipment we use to the buildings we sit in to the quality of the faculty and staff we have, all of that is in some way related to alumni,” Schnoebelen said.
One of the most prominent examples is the Center for Global Citizenship, which has received roughly $4.75 million in funding thanks to donations from the distinctlyDrake campaign, Smith said.
This summer, the distinctlyDrake campaign will fund further physical changes to campus including construction of science facilities and to Cowles Library, Smith said.
“We want to just expose students to the fact that it’s more than just you,” Pepper said. “There’s more to life than just what you want to do. Find something, get passionate about something and make a difference.”
In addition to future philanthropy weeks, administrators are in the process of planning a 36-hour online giving campaign, tentatively called the Great Give, to raise money for the Drake Fund in the coming year, Pepper said.
The fundraising campaign is projected to end in May of 2014.
Money raised by the distinctlyDrake campaign
- $4.75 million — Center of Global Citizenship
- $4 million — “Committed to encourage and inspire generations of entrepreneurs.”
- Physical/pedagogical changes to Cowles Library.
- Contributions to the Engaged Citizenship program, Leadership Education, the Honors Program, Fraternity & Sorority Life, public lectures and Service Learning.
- “Corporate and individual support for the School of Journalism, internships in the College of Business, programming and pianos in the Fine Arts and experiential learning across campus.”
- Growing momentum for capital projects (aka future construction): science renovations, a new School of Education building, renovations to Cartwright Hall and the expansion of the Drake Athletic Field House.