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Fundraising and Grants|
O&CE exceeds fundraising goal as University campaign nears end
By Robert M. Butler
| Penn States seven-year fundraising campaign, dubbed A Grand Destiny, is set to conclude June 30. The University will mark the end of the campaign with a major celebration planned for April. Months ahead of the June 30 closing date, Outreach and Cooperative Extension (O&CE) exceeded its Grand Destiny goal of raising $22 million in private support.|
Begun in July 1996 with a quiet (nonpublic) phase and an initial goal of raising $800 million, A Grand Destiny began its public phase in April 1999 with a new goal of $1 billion. In 2001, with two years left to the campaign and after careful study and assessment, the goal was raised again, to its final level of $1.3 billion.
The focus of the campaign has been to increase the Universitys endowmentsfunds invested by the University that provide financial support to the University in perpetuity. With endowment funding as its overarching goal, the University identified four featured objectives for the campaignundergraduate scholarships, graduate student fellowships, and faculty and program supportas well as ongoing support for research, facilities, equipment and outreach.
Giving to Outreach and Cooperative Extension during the Grand Destiny Campaign had exceeded $27.4 million at the end of February 2003. The goal for O&CE was set at $16 million at the beginning of the campaign and was raised to $22 million two years ago. During the campaign, O&CE received gifts of many different sizes from more than 33,800 donors.
Dr. Sophie Penney, director of development for O&CE, said, The gifts weve received range from membership contributions to support Penn State Public Broadcasting and Shavers Creek to seven-figure gifts from the Sloan Foundation to create the World Campus. Philanthropic support for O&CE has mirrored the organization itself. We reach out to thousands of people around the world with the resources of the University, and thousands have, in return, provided gifts to support the outreach mission of Penn State.
A large percentage of the private funding received by O&CE during the Grand Destiny Campaign has come through Penn State Public Broadcasting, which consists of WPSX-TV and WPSU-FM. Long before the Grand Destiny Campaign, the public TV and radio stations had active membership and underwriting efforts that provide operating support for the stations. Membership dollars are raised primarily through direct mail solicitations and on-air pledge drives. Underwriting dollars come primarily from corporate donors that support programming on both stations. On average, the stations raise more than $1 million in membership and underwriting contributions each year.
During the Grand Destiny Campaign, Penn State Public Broadcasting also has raised funds through a campaign of its own, called A Future Worth Building. Launched with a quiet phase in 1999, the goal of A Future Worth Building is to raise $2 million in private funds to convert from an analog to a digital broadcasting system. This digital conversion is the result of a mandate issued by the Federal Communications Commission that requires each television station nationwide to convert to digital technology or face the prospect of losing its broadcasting license. Converting to digital could give WPSX-TV the capacity to broadcast up to four programs simultaneously, as well as provide for enhanced television, combining televisions broadcasting power with the Internets capacity for depth of information.
Penn State Public Broadcastings digital capital campaign has raised more than $872,000 through mid-March. The campaign received leadership-level gifts of $25,000 and more from a number of individuals, corporations and foundations, including Diane and Carroll Osgood of Hollidaysburg, C. Alan and Judith Walker of Clearfield, New Enterprise Stone and Lime Company Inc., Omega Bank, the Stackpole-Hall Foundation of St. Marys, Laurel Foundation of Pittsburgh and Glenn and Ruth Mengle Foundation of DuBois.
During the Grand Destiny Campaign, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation of New York provided eight gifts to Outreach and Cooperative Extension totaling more than $4 million to launch and support Penn States World Campus, the Universitys online distance learning program. The grants recognized Penn States leadership in developing and delivering innovative, high-quality educational programs that meet the needs of learners nationally and internationally who would not otherwise have access to a campus-based program.
Dr. Frank Mayadas, Learning Outside the Classroom program director for the Sloan Foundation, said, The foundations overall goal for Learning Outside the Classroom has been to make learning available to anyone who wishes to learn, at anytime and anyplace and at an affordable cost. In order to accomplish that goal, it will be necessary for at least a few large universities to establish large-scale online learning efforts which offer hundreds of online courses, 20 to 40 degree and certificate programs and enroll more than 10,000 learners annually. Penn State has excellent prospects in this respect. It has a strong foundation in serving off-campus populations through other kinds of distance education programs, and it has strong commitment from the executive management.
Dr. Gary E. Miller, associate vice president for Distance Education and executive director of the World Campus, notes the Sloan Foundation has played an essential role in the success of the World Campus.
Sloan Foundation support made it possible to establish the World Campus within the mainstream of Penn States academic community. As a single distance education portal serving all academic units, the World Campus has both contributed to and benefited from University-wide innovation in e-learning, Miller said.
The Sloan Foundation gifts were the result of many hours of work and consultation between the foundation and O&CE administrators. On rare but happy occasions, large gifts to O&CE have come out of the blue. The most significant unexpected gift to O&CE came when the Raptor Center at Shavers Creek Environmental Center received a bequest of $725,000 from the estate of Ruth C. Morris of Philadelphia.
Morris had never heard of Shavers Creek until she saw a mention of the center in an early 1990s edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. She became interested in the Raptor Center at Shavers Creek and its injured birds of prey because of her mothers passion for birds. She visited the center in the early 1990s and was treated to a tour by Shavers Creek icon Frances Lewis, the first donor to create an endowment at Shavers Creek.
Gerald Corky Potter, executive director of Shavers Creek Environmental Center, said Morris gift, the largest in Shavers Creek history, beautifully recognizes the human connection to the natural world and honors the Morris family in a meaningful and important way that will benefit public understanding of the environment for years to come.
One outcome of this endowment, Potter explained, will be to expand our use of the Internet to develop innovative ways to deliver content and messages to larger audiences. A gift like Ruth Morris creates the opportunity to think about where we can go from here and how we can build infrastructure to help preserve the environment of the future.
Other benefactors of O&CE during the Grand Destiny Campaign include: