"Shaping Lives of Purpose" contributions allocated

Nearly a month ago, the five-year national “Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo” fundraising effort concluded; however, it is still undecided on what monetary amounts will be distributed. Geneseo initially launched this campaign in the hopes of raising $22 million and the effort generated over $23 million overall. According to the campaign website, Geneseo received 12,900 contributions from alumni and an additional 7,100 donations from parents, faculty, staff, students, corporations and other foundations.

According to Vice President for College Advancement and Executive Director of the Geneseo Foundation William Brower, a large portion of the money will be delegated toward scholarships, student research and student and faculty travel.

In addition, the college intercollegiate athletic program will receive generous support, with plans to upgrade locker rooms and install a new pool scoreboard. The Center for Inquiry, Discovery and Development is also funded by the campaign, and many new endowments for student ambassadorships were established as a result of donor contributions.

Brower said he understands the importance of a campaign of this nature, especially to a state school as state funding diminishes.

“Our job is to continue to make the case for private support,” Brower said. “Contributions help provide a margin of excellence that distinguishes Geneseo from other colleges, both private and public.”

Contributors to the campaign had many different options in choosing where their money went and what kind of gift they wished to make. The largest donation throughout the course of the campaign, a gift of $2.5 million from Charles “Bud” VanArsdale, endowed the VanArsdale Chair in Entrepreneurship. Brower, however, contributes the majority of the success of the campaign to the more than 20,000 contributors of smaller gifts – a phenomenon he referred to as “the power of many.”

While Geneseo received donations from many different avenues, Brower said that the campaign mainly targeted alumni for support.

“We communicated in person at campaign events around the country; we met with potential donors one-on-one; we developed a campaign video that helped make the case for support,” Brower said. The campaign also used direct mail, student phonathon conversations, the Geneseo Scene, the web and social media like mostly Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, the campaign created 18 regional alumni committees across the country to host alumni gatherings and increase support, an element that Brower said he believes was key to the campaign’s success.

Brower said he points success to excellent organization, strong leadership, effective communication and genuine commitment from contributors and that that plans are already in the works for the next campaign, which will strive to generate even more funds. This new campaign will aim to inspire even more alumni support – a feat Brower said should not be too difficult.

“Geneseo alumni love their college,” he said. “That is why I believe they will be more and more engaged and financially supportive.”