UIndy campaign plans to raise millions

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The UIndy Starts with You campaign is a comprehensive campaign to raise $50 million by June 2021. The money will be used to help fund the Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to improve the University of Indianapolis. The campaign revolves around four themes.

“One is students’ success and access, one is faculty and academic excellence, one is    campus and community and the other theme or pillar is transformational opportunities,” said Vice President for University Advancement Chris Molloy.

President Robert Manuel said that in Oct. 2012 they began to discuss ideas for improving the university. Although a lot of ideas were presented, the main ideas were what has become the four themes of the UIndy Starts with You campaign.

“So we take these things and start making the master plan, 2030, which includes all of these things that we have to do,” Manuel said. “These are initiatives that—if we complete it [the campaign]—allows [us] to successfully hold to the strategic plan.”

After the Vision 2030 plan was created, the university had to look at how best to raise money to fund the different parts of the plan. This is where UIndy Starts with You began. Molloy said they did a philanthropic study with Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates to gauge how much money they would be able to raise.

“We identified approximately 60 donors—some alumni, some community members and some just community leaders who weren’t donors—to be interviewed to get their feedback about the university and the concept of our campaign,” Molloy said. “And then they [Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates] came back and talked to us about, based on that, what they thought we could raise.”

Although Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates reported how much it thought the university would be able to raise, Molloy felt the organization was a little too low in its estimate and said the estimate already has been surpassed.

“I think the reason they were a little low was … between the time they did the study and the time we started the quiet phase of the campaign, people got a chance to know the university and know the president better, and there was a lot of enthusiasm around that,” he said.

The quiet phase of a campaign is when the campaign has not yet been announced publicly. Molloy said that during the quiet phase, the university contacted its best supporters and asked them to donate to the campaign. When the quiet phase of the campaign began, the goal was to raise $40 million, but that increased to $45 million and then $50 million as the university saw the success it was having during the quiet phase.

The UIndy Starts with You campaign was announced publicly in October 2015. Molloy said that when the campaign was announced, it was at about 70 percent of the total funds. Now they are working to receive more donations and achieve the goal of raising $50 million. Both Manuel and Molloy are traveling around the United States to talk to more potential donors.

“It entails collecting groups of people or individuals who have an interest in the university and talking with them about the importance of the work we’re doing, the need for the hope that they would support the programs that we’ve put on play,” Manuel said, “and then introducing them to the people who are being affected by their philanthropy in positive ways. So [they can] meet the students or talk to the students, and see a performance or come up to campus, and understand what is happening at the university that makes it so terrific and warrants their philanthropic support.”

Campaigns tend to get their largest donations during the quiet phase, but between July 1 and Nov. 30,  2015, $4,553,300 was raised. Currently about $35 million of the $50 million has been raised.  Many people have donated various amounts to help improve UIndy.

“We have had truly unique gifts coming through,” Manuel said, “gifts that probably would not have come if we weren’t organized in such a way and connected [to] people in such a way and began to articulate to them how their work could impact the work that we do. I’m proud of the number of alumni that are giving. I’m proud of the number of faculty and staff that have given. I’m proud of the community involvement in us.”

One of the major gifts was the $1 million endowment given by Ron and Laura Strain that went toward the Honors College. Campaign Chair Yvonne Shaheen is also giving a major gift. She made a $5 million pledge to the College of Arts and Sciences and is matching the amount of money people are donating right now, up to $1 million.

Molloy said the university appreciates all of the donors and the gifts that have been given during the campaign.

“The president and the board of trustees appreciate every gift, no matter how large or small,” he said.  “And really, the campaign is about showing their affection and care for the university in whatever way is appropriate and whatever level of gift they can give.”

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