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Remembering the Forgotten Ones

Selections from the Milton Rogovin Collection
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Outstanding Leaders

Student Personnel Administration (SPA) program presents awards [more…]

Inside Story

College Foundation Breaks Fund-Raising Records

BY MARY A. DURLAK

With so many firsts listed in Buffalo State's 2001-02 annual report, it's easy to overlook this modest one-line summary: "First year that total gifts to the college exceeded $5.6 million."

To get a handle on how much money that is, consider that in 1987, Buffalo State raised $195,000, or roughly 3.5 percent of this year's total. In fiscal year 1996-97, the college raised $1.5 million—just a quarter for every dollar today. This dramatic increase, impressive in itself, is extraordinary given the larger economic picture.

Who Benefits?

Fund-raising has become a fact of life for New York's public colleges. In 2000-01, Buffalo State ranked second among the 13 SUNY colleges in total dollars raised, and first in absolute-dollar increase over the previous fiscal year. SUNY System Administration has not yet released 2001-02 reports.

Successful fund-raising provides both tangible and intangible benefits to the college. Private donations are the sole support of the All College Honors Program, which offers scholarships to high-achieving Buffalo State applicants. These awards have been the deciding factor for many current honors students. Their enrollment enables Buffalo State to improve its academic profile while remaining accessible to students with college potential.

The college's first endowed chair, the Woods-Beals Endowed Chair in Urban and Rural Education, was created last year with a $1 million gift from alumna Eleanore Woods Beals, '50, and her husband, Vaughn L. Beals. Endowed chairs attract renowned scholars who serve as a resource for faculty members and students.

Fund-raising also provides more than 70 awards and scholarships to students annually, based on diverse criteria such as academic achievement, selected majors, and unique challenges. Faculty and staff benefit because money raised helps to support research, E. H. Butler Library, and academic departments.

Who's Responsible?

Buffalo State's professional fund-raising office, Institutional Advancement and Development, raises money for the Buffalo State College Foundation. When Carmine A. Grande, D.P.A., became the department's vice president in 1997, one of his first decisions was to develop strategies to obtain major gifts from individuals. Nationally, most donations—86 percent—come from individuals; corporations provide 6 percent, foundations 8 percent.

"It made sense to focus on our own alumni and faculty," said Grande. Apparently, the strategy is sound. In addition to the Bealses' gift, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Exceptional Education Hank Mann donated $1 million.

The remaining $3.6 million—more than the entire assets of the foundation in 1990—represent gifts of thousands of people who, like the Bealses and Mann, believe in Buffalo State College, including many faculty and staff members.

Nonprofits often invite Grande to speak to their development staff. Grande, one of just 55 people nationwide to achieve ACFRE (Advanced Certified Fund-Raising Executive) certification from the 26,000-member Association of Fundraising Professionals, tells his audience, "A lot of care and nurturing goes into fund-raising. It's a relationship, not a transaction."

Developing those relationships is Institutional Advancement's responsibility. However, Grande notes, "It's important to be a worthy organization, not a needy one." Donors give, not because an organization needs money, but because it spends money in ways that donors consider worthwhile.

In other words, people support Buffalo State because of the education students receive, the research and creativity faculty generate, and the service the college provides. So, in a very real way, the entire campus community helped to raise this record-breaking amount.

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FEBRUARY 2003/VOL. 01, NO. 4
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Briefs

Read On
Shared Governance and Institutional Decisions

Inside Story
College Foundation Breaks Fund-Raising Records

Plugged In
SABRE Rollout Set to Begin

Achievements

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