Fundraising campaign on track despite downturn

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    Campus officials said they still expect the Campaign for TCU to meet its $250 million fundraising goal by May 2012 despite tough economic conditions around the country.

    According to an Inside Higher Ed article, universities around the country are reporting a sharp drop in donations this year. But a strong start to the campaign helped the university stay on track to meet its goal, said David Nolan, associate vice chancellor for development.

    Since the campaign began in June 2005, the university has raised more than 75 percent of its goal, Nolan said. According to the Campaign for TCU Web site, more than $190 million had been raised as of March 8.

    However, the campaign has been seeing a decline in donations recently, Nolan said. Officials expected a slowdown at this stage of the campaign after the strong start, and as they go deeper into the prospective donor list, he said.

    “We’re thankful we got off to a great start,” Nolan said. “We received some large early gifts and built a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. It really helped us, and we still absolutely think we can meet, and hopefully exceed, our goal.”

    The campaign has raised slightly more than $10 million since September. A campaign goal at that time was to raise $225 million, $34 million more than the current amount, by the end of the fiscal year in May.

    Donations to Campaign for TCU
    $190 million – The amount Campaign TCU has raised since June 2005
    $250 million – The amount Campaign TCU hopes to have by May 2012

    Don Whelan, vice chancellor for university advancement, said the campaign team is
    in the process of evaluating campaign goals to determine if $225 million by May
    is still feasible.

    “It’s like watching the stock market; it will drive you crazy if you look at it every day,” Whelan said. “What we are doing is taking a long-term view. The goal is to surpass $250 million by May 2012. We still think it’s going to happen but maybe not as soon as we projected.”

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said tough economic conditions have also contributed to the slowdown.

    “I think everybody is more cautious,” Boschini said. “Even if you don’t have less money, whatever money you do have you are taking it much more seriously.”

    Whelan said that even in tough economic times, religion and education tend to receive financial support from community members.

    “We see over history that during economic slowdowns people focus on who they support,” Whelan said. “We know that we have a good product with a great history and great heritage.”

    Nolan said any financial gifts given to the university during the time frame are included into the campaign total.

    Boschini said raising money for scholarships is the most important goal of the campaign.

    “The main thing that it will mean for students is that we’ll provide more access to a TCU education,” Boschini said. “I still think we’ll surpass the goal. I think it means people see TCU as a good investment.”