When East Carolina began the Second Century Campaign, the thought of raising $200 million by the year 2012 seemed like a daunting task. And make no mistake, $200 million is a very significant amount of money. But with more than $160 million raised as of December 31, 2009, the university community is working hard to reach this goal.
The Second Century Campaign is critical to the success of the university’s strategic plan, ECU Tomorrow: A Vision for Leadership and Service. The wide-reaching plan includes everything from increasing scholarships for students, to supporting faculty and academic programs, and making some capital improvements to campus. It will likely cost more than $1 billion over the next 10 to 15 years, a sum that the state of North Carolina can not be counted on to provide.
“This bold and ambitious plan for East Carolina lays out five strategic directions by which we will chart our course into our second century,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard in announcing the university’s strategic plan and the campaign. “Together, we will shape the future of our university.”
The Second Century Campaign began in spring 2008 and will continue through at least the end of 2011. It includes every cent of every donation given to ECU during that time. While donations continue to be made and gifts received, the university is not waiting to put the money to good use.
“We’ve added about 85 new scholarship funds since the campaign started, including creating the Access Scholarship program from scratch. We’ve also created 15 new distinguished professorships, strengthened our EC Scholars program into a highly competitive package, and begun some capital improvements to some of our athletics facilities,” said Vice Chancellor of University Advancement Mickey Dowdy.
The campaign’s early success is allowing ECU to expand programs and make improvements at a time when the harsh economic climate has put many universities’ plans on hold.
“We are running a little ahead of schedule and it’s a little surprising because of the economic situation that is affecting everyone. We have continued to forge ahead even with the crisis,” said Dowdy.
That persistence is paying off for students. The Access Scholarship program is helping 75 students attend ECU this academic year thanks to the $5,000 grants the recipients receive. The EC Scholars program is now more competitive with some of the most prestigious scholarships in the state because of the Second Century Campaign and a prior EC Scholars campaign, and is attracting some of the finest students in the state.
Campaign contributions are not only allowing the university to offer these new and improved scholarships to deserving students, they are enabling the university to sustain these programs for future generations by putting in place endowments needed to support each scholarship. For instance, an endowment of $125,000 is required to sustain each Access Scholarship, while EC Scholars awards require twice that amount. This work has begun, but much more additional support is required to complete the job.
ECU athletics is benefiting from the campaign as well. The annual cost of all athletic scholarships must be raised each year. In addition, campaign gifts have supported facilities enhancements, plus private support will play an important role in upcoming improvements to the athletic complex.
The campaign has done more for ECU than just raise money. By setting such ambitious goals, the university has set a vision for ECU in the next century, and developed the mechanisms that will allow the university to more effectively realize that vision. One way we’ve done that is by modernizing fundraising through online giving to give donors options on how they give and where their donations are used.
“Giving online through our Web site giving.ecu.edu, allows alumni and friends to make an immediate impact with their gifts. Online giving is safe, easy, and increasingly meaningful as we strive to turn bold visions into exciting realities during our second century of leadership and service,” said Christy Deardorff, director of annual giving for ECU.
With the new online giving site, donors can decide where their donation goes by searching for funds by keywords, or by browsing through all available funds based on college, school, or department. They can decide how they make a gift because online giving supports payments via check, credit card, or automatic bank drafts. Contributors can now plan for future giving through bequests, retirement plans, charitable trusts, life insurance, and other contributions made through a donor’s estate. There are even resources to help give in unconventional ways with gifts of cash, stocks, mutual funds, or even personal property such as art, fine furnishings, and rare books.
Online giving is also a very efficient, cost-effective way to raise money. It saves the university money by eliminating costs associated with paper, printing, and postage, and decreases the amount of time staff members need to process donations. Now that the online giving apparatus is up and running, it should continue to aid in fund raising in the future, and help the university raise the final $50 million to reach the $200 million target of the Second Century Campaign.
“We’ve got several things we still want to accomplish. We still want to add more scholarships for students and distinguished professorships. We won’t be pleased until every college and school has an endowed professorship,” said Dowdy. “Every gift matters. We are fortunate here to have such involved alumni and friends, and we hope that some of the innovative things we are doing as part of this campaign will make it easier and more enjoyable to continue to give to East Carolina.”
Try online giving for yourself, and see how easy it is to support the Second Century Campaign.