To the Saint Mary's Campus Community,
Wow, it's November already! Happy All Saints Day.
I want to use today's letter to share with you news from Advancement including an update on our tele-fundraising program, recent grants to the College and a few exciting events this fall.
Beginning in summer, we engaged the services of the telemarketing firm Ruffalo-Cody to manage our calling program. We still employ Saint Mary's students to make calls from our office to alumni, parents and friends asking them to make a gift to the College, but now we have the benefit of best practices utilized by hundreds of colleges and universities around the nation. The results to date have been superb! In just 10 weeks, we have already surpassed the total amount pledged in all of the last academic year and the average gift is up 79 percent. Our 25 students are doing a great job and learning valuable sales skills at the same time. We look forward to a very successful overall year.
In partnership with campus colleagues, we have launched two new directed annual giving programs. The Tip-off Club is a $1,000+ annual giving group to support the Men's Basketball Team. Thus far, approximately 50 donors have given to the program-a great start to the pre-season. And, beginning today, we introduce the SEBA Dean's Circle to encourage support from the business community and SEBA alumni in supporting the school at the $1,500+ level. Both are considered pilot programs to see if matching donor passion with specific College needs increases overall support.
The College has received several grants recently, both large and small. You may have already read about the $2.1 Million grant through the U.S. Department of Education and private foundations to expand "Reading Recovery," a teacher training and literacy intervention program based at the Kalmanovitz School of Education and designed to address the needs of first grade students who are experiencing difficulty learning to read and write. The College is the only institution in California to receive the award.
Various Saint Mary's programs have been the beneficiaries of other grants. The Margoes Foundation has provided $25,000 to support targeted financial aid for High Potential program participants. The Harry L. and Helen M. Rust Charitable Foundation made a grant of $10,000 for the Lamont Madden Book Fund. And, the Wells Fargo Foundation made a $10,000 grant to CILSA for West Oakland Futures.
Volunteers are at the center of two fundraising events to be held this month. First, the Women in Philanthropy Committee is launching its inaugural event, "40 Years/One Night: A Gaela Celebration" which celebrates this year's milestone in Saint Mary's history: 40 years ago the College began admitting women as undergraduate students. At the event this coming Saturday, the College will honor 40 influential alumnae. The event is sold out. Proceeds benefit the Sister Clare Wagstaffe Scholarship Fund. Two weeks later, the Rugby Alumni Association will hold its third annual "Pat Vincent Dinner Dance." Rugby alumni represent our most productive athletic booster club, as more money is raised for Saint Mary's Rugby than any other team. Thanks to the association and this event, last year we raised more than $125,000 for Rugby.
We continue to engage in activities that connect alumni with the student body. In September, members of the Black Alumni Chapter cosponsored and participated in the Black Student Meet and Greet. New and current students had the opportunity to interact with each other, faculty, staff as well as alumni who are serving as mentors. The efforts of the chapter focus on assisting the College to increase retention and graduation rates among African-American students. They will also support programs for students through sponsorship and participation.
Finally, as we enter the season of giving, please consider a gift to the College. Gifts from faculty and staff reaffirm our motto: Signum Fidei. You can make a one-time gift online or a reoccurring gift through payroll deduction.
Thanks for reading!
Keith E. Brant
Vice President for Development