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By Karen Herland
Despite the uncertainty of the current economy, the Concordia community has gone against trend and actually increased donations to the university over the last year.
The annual campaign, under the direction of Brad Skog, raised $888 000 in the second half of 2008, an increase of 26.5% over 2007. Targeting alumni with direct mail requests and phone calls, the total number of donors climbed 15% from the same period the year before.
“The success of this campaign demonstrates that we are really good at reaching out to alumni and remaining connected,” says Vice-President Advancement and Alumni Relations Kathy Assayag.
In a recent interview, Assayag explained that with so many worthy causes out there and the economic situation taking a big dent out of many people’s savings, cultivating that connection remains paramount. “It’s important to stay top of mind.”
Assayag said that many Sir George Williams and Loyola graduates have chosen to donate to the university. For example, Helen Linder (SGW BA 67) recently left her estate of $300 000 to Concordia. This one-time donation was in addition to her nearly four decades of $100 annual donations to the university.
“This is a really powerful example of what our founding institutions meant to alumni,” says Assayag. “For many graduates, Sir George Williams University and Loyola College offered them a chance to pursue higher education. They remember the profound impact that this had on their lives.”
Over the last four years, the university has received 18 bequests from alumni representing a combined donation of $1.4 million.
Concordia’s faculty and staff are also making their mark. Donations to the community campaign increased by 25% in the first seven months of last year compared to the previous year. Money raised in this internal fundraising campaign can be directed to programs such as Sustainable Concordia, athletics, the libraries, or, most importantly, towards scholarships and student aid.
“I’m proud of that increase. It says a lot about staff and faculty members and how much they care,” says Assayag, adding the need for student support is always great.
Meanwhile, the university is well advanced in the silent phase of their comprehensive campaign. Although the official launch of the campaign remains dependent upon the economic climate, Assayag says the university has already secured 41% of the campaign’s goal.