70% of college staff gives to capital campaign

By Peter Wright

After netting $665,000 for the college and eliciting a 70 percent participation rate, the faculty and staff portion of the capital campaign wound down at an April 14 luncheon. The college will now shift the focus of the campaign toward seeking money from donors outside of the college.”I think people just really came through,” said Kate Abbott, assistant vice president of advancement operations.

Because the participation rate surpassed 60 percent, an anonymous donor has agreed to donate $150,000 towards a student scholarship. That brings the total amount raised during the participation drive to $815,000.

Abbott said that she considers the participation rate to be even more important than the specific amount of money raised. She said the number will be helpful to fundraisers when they are trying to convince possible donors outside of the college to give.

Chair of the Capital Campaign Jerry Crawford ’71 said that he could remember times when getting 70 percent of the faculty and staff at Macalester to agree on something was next to impossible. He said that the amount of support shown by employees means the college is on a positive track, something he wants possible donors to see.

“The real magic happens when you put students and faculty members together in front of a group of alumni,” Crawford said.

All of the departments at Macalester reached at least 40 percent participation, Abbott said. Several were in the 80 percent to 90 percent range, but employees designated as working in the Athletics building were the only group to have 100 percent participation.

Jordan Cushing, who led the effort to convince faculty and staff in Athletics to contribute, said that they were successful at reaching the 100 percent goal because they are relatively small in size and they have a competitive spirit. She added that Athletics is physically benefiting from the capital campaign because some of the money raised will help to fund the MARC.

“Clearly we see what we’re getting out of this campaign,” Cushing said.

As The Mac Weekly previously reported, there was some debate during the campaign about the notion of employees giving back to their employer. In fact, on the webpage for the Participation campaign, a link was added to allow employees to simply deduct funds from their paychecks.

Cushing said that she didn’t encounter that conflict within her department, but she said that giving to a college isn’t that uncommon, mentioning one employee who said that the University of Minnesota expects their entire faculty to do so.

“It feels to me . that if you don’t give, it’s saying a lot more than if you do give,” Cushing said.

Abbott agreed, saying that Macalester employees tend to care about more than simply getting a paycheck. She said that they usually work here because they are genuinely dedicated to the college’s mission.

Although the Participation Campaign is winding down, Abbott stressed that faculty and staff can continue to contribute online.

The next step of the capital campaign is quieter. Crawford said the college will continue to ask for donations from alumni behind the scenes as it moves towards a major ceremony officially kicking-off the drive, which will be held in October.

Crawford said that he does not believe in the notion that Macalester graduates are stingy when giving to the college. He said that they tend to be involved in many other causes, which can push donating to Macalester down on their priority list. He said that his goal is to move it back up.

“For the next four years, let’s make this place our priority,” Crawford said.

He said that the capital campaign has already raised $86 million mostly from alumni, which is well on the way to the $100 million set by the college.