Kent State fundraising in ‘quiet’ phase

Rachel Abbey

The recent $6.5 million gift to the School of Theatre and Dance is one of many donations Kent State hopes to raise during its comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The campaign has not been publicly announced but work has already begun. A large percent of any fundraising goal should be done in the “quiet” phase before announcement, President Carol Cartwright said.

This helps ensure the success of a campaign, said Kathy Stafford, vice president for university relations and development. The campaign involves everyone from faculty to alumni to the president.

Gifts help where state money does not, Cartwright said, but donors are not necessarily looking to do that.

“They want to invest in winners,” she said. “They want to make a difference where the university is already strong.”

For major donations, the university needs to get the donor involved with and caring about Kent State, Stafford said.

“It’s a matter of establishing relationships with those people,” she said.

Personal contact is important, Cartwright said. She has been traveling and meeting with potential donors. The next president will be the one to publicly announce the campaign, and Cartwright said she will help him or her in the beginning.

“We don’t want to lose any momentum,” she said.

The university has been preparing for the last few years, assessing and prioritizing needs, Stafford said.

“We have done a lot in the last year and a half,” she said. “We’re making great progress.”

Alexander Haas Martin & Partners, a fundraising consulting firm, studied the campaign plan and gave suggestions, Stafford said. The firm thinks the university needs to focus on increasing major gifts, such as the one to the School of Theatre and Dance, in the next few years.

Stafford said the campaign will include:

• Funds from the annual mail and phone drives to alumni

• Donations from foundations and corporations that share goals with Kent State

• Planned giving from wills or estates

• Major gifts

“We’re always trying to raise the base of all those different components,” Stafford said.

The money from this campaign could fund anything from construction projects to research, she said.

“Scholarships will be a huge part of it,” Stafford said, including those for merit, need, international students and talent – such as dance, art, and theatre.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].