As we near the end of the calendar year, I want to update you on the progress of the College's Advancement efforts.
You may recall that on July 1, 2008, we quietly launched a seven-year campaign to raise increasing amounts of public and private support that advances the mission of the College. Comprehensive means that gifts will be garnered for capital, endowed and annual purposes at all levels to aid all corners of the College. Campaign priorities were distilled through consultation with a wide group of constituents, including the faculty, deans, President's Cabinet and Board of Trustees.
While we remain a few years away from any public announcement, we have been working behind the scenes to build greater capacity within the Advancement office, to expand the donor base, develop more volunteer support and secure lead gifts for our top priorities.
It's no secret that we are attempting to accomplish this in a highly challenging economic climate. Nevertheless, significant steps have been taken in building the campaign.
Since April, we have been holding a series of small gatherings with current and prospective donors where Brother Ronald shares his vision for the future of Saint Mary's. It is most important that those who have the resources to make an impact are partners in our plans.
In September, we launched a series of programs called Inspiring Wonder (words from the College's mission statement) featuring faculty speakers. Planned for a dozen regions in California and beyond, the programs serve to reengage and update alumni, parents and friends about the College and showcase the talented faculty. Events have been held in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles featuring Steve Woolpert (political science), Cynthia Ganote (sociology) and Joel Burley (chemistry). In the first quarter of 2010, programs will be held in Marin County, San Jose, Denver and Sacramento.
Critical to the success of the campaign is the involvement of a cadre of dedicated volunteer leaders. Recently, two new committees were launched. First, recognizing that almost 10% of Saint Mary's alumni and 20% of undergraduate parents live in the state's eight southern counties as well as numerous foundations in that region, a Southern California Campaign Committee has been formed to focus on major gifts and grants from that area. In a very short time span, this effort has already been productive. Second, the Women & Philanthropy Committee has started with a small group of women working to expand and involve greater numbers of women in the life of the College. This effort is especially important as 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the admission of women as undergraduates and a time to reflect on and celebrate the significant impact of women at Saint Mary's.
We have been working with campus partners to strengthen College boards and committees. Early in the New Year, a new advisory board for the School of Economics and Business Administration will be launched. Over the last eight months we have been selectively inviting key members of the business community to take part in this revitalized venture. By mid-year, a new board devoted to fund-raising for the Hearst Art Gallery is expected to meet. In addition, renewed conversations are underway with the Board of Regents and Alumni Board to better define their purposes.
Over the past few months, we have met with several groups of faculty to learn about emerging projects, seek opportunities to involve donors in their work and plan external relations. For example, we've had discussions with Performing Arts faculty about developing donors among our community arts patrons; Communications department faculty on the development of a Broadcast Studio for Sichel Hall; and Graduate Business faculty on developing a partnership with a venture capital consortium. We have supported development of an external advisory group for Sports Management program and had discussions with the faculty leaders of the centers for Foundation Generation and Engaged Religious Pluralism to help identify start-up funds. The Alumni office has also advised faculty on using social media to keep alumni engaged.
Last month, I convened the first meeting of the External Relations Council, a cross-campus group charged with coordinating corporate, business and community relations toward maximizing the College's visibility and opportunities for greater partnerships and financial support. Initial efforts show tremendous potential as we assemble an inventory of the College's existing relationship. We have already begun renewing relationships with locally-based, large corporations such as Chevron, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank and Safeway.
We continue to focus on the top capital priorities. Throughout the summer and fall, plans for the new student life and recreation center and adjacent sites have been refined. I believe we will make significant progress toward securing lead gifts in the near future. And, planning for the library addition and renovation is well underway as architects are currently developing fund raising materials based on preliminary schematic drawings. Development officers continue to speak with a number of donors about these and other projects.
Major gifts continue to arrive at the College. As previously announced, we received more than $1 million from the Robert W. Summers to benefit students in science and journalism. This fall, the College received two key gifts from donors who wish to remain anonymous. The widow of an alumnus gave $210,000 towards student scholarships. The parents of a current student gave $300,000 toward the student life and recreation center.
More than $2 million of grant proposals are awaiting response from the National Science Foundation. And, the College has negotiated a generous indirect cost recovery agreement on future grants.
As of October 31, 2009, annual giving is up 33% over the same period last year, with gifts to student scholarships having more than doubled. Overall cash contributions are also ahead of last year by 5%.
Faculty and Staff Campaign
The annual Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign is in full swing. All of you are asked to participate at whatever level is meaningful to you. You may designate your gift to any department or program where there is an established fund. Last year, the College set a record 26% participation among faculty and staff. We are hoping to exceed that mark with your generous support and the help of an enthusiastic campaign committee.
A campaign is a major undertaking for an institution and requires significant investment by all aspects of the College community. To achieve this level of gift support, the campaign must involve the entire community in fundraising, making a focus on philanthropy part of the Saint Mary's culture. In recent weeks, I have had conversations about our plans with deans, the faculty senate, staff council and Brothers' communities. Each body asked important questions and offered great suggestions. I remain very optimistic that together we will generate the resources to meet our needs and aspirations for the future of Saint Mary's College. I welcome our continued dialogue.
Keith E. Brant
Vice President for Development