Thinking Big: PSU’s Comprehensive Campaign

idea-1195914_960_720My November blog post on philanthropy and fundraising focused on how faculty involved in these efforts can change PSU through the generous partnership of our donors. The Academic Leadership Team (ALT) has been working closely with President Wiewel and the PSU Foundation to frame the next set of ideas that will serve as the scaffolding for PSU’s Comprehensive Campaign. This campaign will be an intensive, catalyzing fundraising effort to build endowments and one-time funds to support students, faculty, and staff, as well as facilities and programmatic needs. We have yet to launch the campaign, but the building blocks are in place.

Three Successful Mini-Campaigns
The PSU Foundation has raised more than $50 million to support our students through the Creating Futures Scholarship Campaign. In October, the School of Business Administration moved into their new expansion space in the Karl Miller Center made possible by PSU supporters. Construction is underway on the Viking Pavilion at the Peter W. Stott Center.

New Foundation Leadership
The PSU Foundation is responsible for raising and managing private resources to support the mission and priorities of the university and contributes to institutional excellence. After an extensive, nationwide search, the PSU Foundation Board of Trustees selected Dr. William (Bill) Boldt to be the Foundation’s president and CEO. Bill has a 30-year-plus career in successful higher education fundraising at a number of universities. He is off to a strong start and his comments in my blog demonstrate his commitment to partnerships and working tirelessly to raise funds for PSU.

Campaign Themes
The Foundation, in collaboration with PSU, has identified three broad themes for the comprehensive campaign that will link the Foundation’s fundraising efforts with PSU’s Strategic Plan.

  • Vibrant Communities embrace PSU’s contributions to the vibrant, culturally dynamic City of Portland.
  • Thriving Economies acknowledges that we are a major engine for the growing Portland and regional economy by educating the current and next generation of thought leaders and talent workforce, and through the research and work of our faculty, staff and students.
  • Creating Futures is all about our commitment to student access and success, and removing financial and other barriers to education.

Big Ideas
The comprehensive campaign will help raise funds for schools, colleges, and other units based on their specific needs and priorities. In addition, some Big Ideas that involve multiple schools and colleges will provide the cornerstone of the Comprehensive Campaign.  ALT and the Foundation have been engaged in an iterative process to develop these ideas and started with nearly two dozen topic areas.  These have been narrowed to seven and are in the refinement and feasibility-testing phase.

Civic Engagement—strengthen relationships with our urban region by making us more visible and accessible and leveraging our strategic partnerships with businesses, governments, and civic organizations.

Climate Change—expand nationally-recognized interdisciplinary research and community partnerships that advance climate change mitigation (reducing greenhouse gases) and resilience (recovering from climate change impacts and preparing for less predictable climate).

Entrepreneurship—leverage our location in the heart of a robust start-up city to deliver top quality entrepreneurial education to students regardless of career path; increase students and faculty research viable for commercialization; and strengthen key partnerships with businesses and organizations.

Race, Inclusion and Equity—create a strong footprint for race and equity, and promote a region that is a fertile space for conversation, builds community consciousness, conducts research, and generates leading-edge graduates.

Smart Cities—driven by technology and data, work with the City of Portland to optimize and transform existing infrastructure to create smart communities that are more livable, prosperous, and equitable.

STEM Education—establish a system for recruiting undergraduate students in STEM fields while increasing their success rates and developing a formalized pipeline to careers.

Translational Public Health—translation of extensive public health knowledge into direct programs, policies and actions to specifically address earthquake (emergency) natural and technological disasters.

The ideas align with PSU’s Strategic Plan, enhance areas in which PSU is already strong, and have individuals that can lead the efforts.  The next step is to determine the current donor base, advocates, philanthropic excitement, and potential lead gifts.

I am excited and ready for our Comprehensive Campaign’s potential to raise funds and PSU’s profile. We have a lot to be proud of and can make a great case for individuals and groups to invest in us. With everyone’s efforts, we can share PSU’s story, needs, and make it possible for donors to connect with our students, faculty, staff and deans.



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