Moving Toward a Capital Campaign

Dear Colleagues,

As we move toward the Saint Mary's College sesquicentennial in 2013, we also begin a long, "quiet" phase of a comprehensive campaign. This campaign will both reinforce the progress made in our strategic plan as well as move beyond it, drawing from the conversations and collective goals that were established during that process. Our fund raising objectives must be realistic; we need to show success after a long period of limited growth in development. We have hired senior consultants John Cash and Martha Keates of Marts & Lundy to help us identify a realistic campaign goal and advise us about a strategy that reaches that goal and aligns with our objectives for the College. However, our most important consultants are you, and I invite you to join in the process of identifying our campaign priorities.

One recommendation we have received is to focus on programs rather than facilities, because although we may desperately need facilities, they are less likely to capture the imagination of potential donors. This does not mean that the campaign will drive our priorities; if we raise funds for programs, it frees operating budgets to help take care of facilities. Similarly, we may not highlight all of the noteworthy aspects of the College, but focus, for the campaign, on those that are likely to generate the most external interest. The more successful we are with our campaign, the better equipped we are to meet priorities that may not be part of the campaign.

I would like to begin the campaign planning as a conversation about ideas, particularly those one or two objectives that might help transform the academic side of the College. Our time line for this initial phase is short, as our Board and Cabinet would like to officially launch this "silent" phase by early summer. Throughout the next two months, I will solicit specific ideas about traditional campaign funding areas such as endowed chairs, scholarships, and special programs. I am sure that many rich and broad ideas will emerge. At this early phase, please do not invest extensive time in developing proposals, as realistically we may only be able to identify a dozen endowed chairs, a handful of programs, and so forth to provide a focus or themes for our campaign. While not all proposals can be included as specific campaign priorities, they will be retained by the development staff and brought forward if there appears to be donor interest. In addition to traditional categories of development, I encourage you to think outside of these parameters and consider how we might broaden our contribution to social change, particularly through our academic people and programs.

Your deans will be asking for input in the coming weeks. Our time is short; to stay on schedule, we need to draft a preliminary set of priorities by the middle of April. In addition to working with your deans, I will sponsor "town hall" style conversations on April 10, from 3:30-4:45, and April 16, during Community Time (12:45-2:00). Information about the location will follow. As always, you can also share your thoughts with me via phone, email, or in person, or in the comments section of this message below.

I encourage you to engage in this forward thinking process, secure in the knowledge that we will continue to be flexible in our priorities and will keep you informed of our progress.