University fundraising surpasses target amount

Nick Glunt

As the 2009-10 fiscal year comes

to a close, fundraising at Kent State

is once again at a record high despite

the economic climate and a national

trend of dwindling contributions.

“We haven’t really been affected

by the recession,” said Steve

Sokany, associate vice president

for institutional advancement.

According to the Associated

Press, university fundraising fell

12 percent nationally in 2009.

Though they have not yet officially

closed the books for this last

fiscal year, Kent State has raised

at least $3.1 million more than the

previous year. Sokany said the

total is at least $39,866,000. Unprocessed

checks dated before the fiscal

year ended could increase this

value, but Sokany assured that it

would not decrease.

Sokany said the university’s

fundraising goal was $33 million.

In addition to increasing monetary

donations, the number of

contributors has also jumped

by about 3,400. The number of

donors increased from 21,254 in

2008-09 to 24,642 this past year.

The improvement in fundraising is part of a recent trend at

Kent State. Sokany said that in the

2008-09 fiscal year, contributions

jumped by $10 million.

He said the university has

hired more people to make fundraising

easier, targeting alumni

and organizations to get donors.

“I think people are investing

in Kent State,” President Lester

Lefton said. “They trust the

leadership, they trust what we’re

doing and they’re seeing positive

results. They’re saying, ‘Here’s

some money to help you do it.’”

While some universities are

asking for less from their donors

because of the times, Lefton said

Kent State is asking for more.

Lefton said presidents of

universities spend 20 to 90 percent

of their time fundraising.

He judges his own fundraising

commitment at between 20 and

30 percent of his time.

“These days, when state funding

is significantly down on a

per-student basis,” Lefton said,

“public universities wind up

having to raise funds in the same

way as private universities do. In

some ways, even more, because

we do it on a fifth of the tuition

that a private university does, but

we have the same expenses.”

Contact administration reporter

Nick Glunt at [email protected].