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What’s next for Drake’s $225 million fundraising campaign

Photo by Courtney Jackson | Staff Photographer

Learn what’s next for Drake’s $225 million fundraising campaign

Since Drake announced its $225 million fundraising campaign, “The Ones: Drake’s Campaign for the Brave and Bold,” faculty and staff have continued to develop the campaign’s initiatives and raise funds for its goals. 

The campaign has raised over $130 million as of April 19, according to vice president for advancement John Smith. An upcoming goal is to reach $132 million by June 30. 

The confidence and generosity among our alumni and friends have provided a strong start, positioning us slightly ahead of our target benchmarks,” Smith said in an email on April 19. 

In an interview, Smith said that a campaign report will come out over the summer or early fall. Following that, he said, Drake will be able to provide updates on the campaign closer to a monthly basis. 

Smith said that there are currently no future student feedback sessions on the campaign planned. Although “there’s certainly no operational charge from the structure of the campaign to encourage [it],” faculty and staff champions will seek involvement from students and fellow faculty “just by the nature of this institution and the faculty and staff champions in those areas,” Smith said. He said that future scholarship winners will “help shape and define the activities” in their programming.

DUiN students criticize the campaign in public parody

On April Fools’ Day, Drake University Independent News (DUiN) held a satirical public announcement of “The Twos: Our Campaign for the Rich and the Old.” During the belittling parody, DUiN assistant editor-in-chief Carl Yaeger and copy editor Max Brown presented plans for a skyscraper in Helmick Commons and other projects.

“There are issues at Drake that I think these resources could be used to address before they jump into other initiatives,” Brown said in an interview. “Yeah, professors and especially a lot of student workers are underpaid.” 

At the satirical event, Brown and Yaeger provided vague and buzzword-filled answers to members in the audience who were playing along with the joke. In the interview, Brown said that Drake should provide more detail about how campaign funds will be used to improve academics and programming, and Yaeger expressed frustration with the campaign’s “smug” marketing.

Students will make an impact in and learn from campaign initiatives in scholarship programs

This fall, first-year students will enter renewable $5,000 scholarship programs and begin work that is embedded in one of four initiatives within “The Ones” campaign. These initiatives are the Jay N. Darling Institute, Digital Proficiency Platform, Every Bulldog a Changemaker and Center for Public Democracy. 

“So instead of just, ‘fund a scholarship,’ there is a program that’s outlined and described as a cohort model that will bring these students to the spirit of these ideas but also build a community for them within that,” Smith said. “And that there will be experiential opportunities for those folks who are scholars in those areas, and there will be an intentionality in the way in which they’re brought through their four years of experience.”

The Center for Public Democracy’s goals include investments in research, faculty and staff positions and renovated spaces, including speaking venues, according to campaign materials from the Office of Advancement. The initiative aims to support scholarship holders’ summer internships or research, travel seminars and post-graduate work or education in public democracy. 

Goals within the Digital Proficiency Platform (DPP) are designed to bolster learning in fields related to technology through facilities or programs, such as a consultancy where students would be paid to partner with nonprofits. The DPP scholarship program would create a community for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

“So [the students in the program] need 40 hours of community service for the entire year, basically,” said Meredith Moore, one of the professors working on the DPP. “And one of the ways to get that community service… is to act as a TA in the department. And that is really exciting to me, especially because one of the ways that the data has shown that has been successful in increasing the diversity in STEM fields is to have representation in the role models of the field.” 

The Every Bulldog a Changemaker initiative goals include creating programs for funding student grants, assisting local entrepreneurs and helping start-ups become Certified B Corporations. The Darling Institute aims to engage Drake with projects that meet needs in rural America through community projects and investments in Darling faculty. 

Darling Institute director and professor Keith Summerville said that community stakeholders are approaching him with project opportunities. 

“These are things that are being brought to me in my role as director, and then we are finding the best [way] to meet the need, whether it be through a class project, whether it be through a class project, whether it be through employment opportunities, [or] whether it be through work that student recipients will be doing,” Summerville said. 

This fall, Drake intends to offer 15 of these scholarships between the Darling, Changemaker and Public Democracy initiatives, and a full 20 under Digital Proficiency, according to Ryan Zantingh of student financial planning. Drake plans to eventually award 20 scholarships for each of these initiatives, according to the Drake Office of Advancement campaign materials. 

Progress on the Knapp Center renovation project

Drake announced major leadership gifts to the campaign in a press release on March 1, including $1 million for the Drake Law School Refugee Clinic and funds for the Knapp Center renovation project. Smith said that over $5 million has been raised for this approximately $10 million renovation.

Smith said that the first phase of the renovation will begin in May. This will involve improving seating in the lower bowl of the arena, creating a new hospitality space and developing a sports medicine center for the basketball and volleyball programs, according to the project webpage

Smith said the second renovation phase will start in May 2023 or later, depending on donations. The second phase will include improvements to the upper level of seating, a new sound system and enhancements to the atrium, the project webpage says.

Max Brown is The Times-Delphic’s Digital Editor. 


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