Truman State University has publicly announced a $40 million comprehensive fundraising campaign entitled “Pursue the Future.” The public launch was initiated by President Troy D. Paino at a press conference and special ceremony during Homecoming 2015 festivities.
“Private gift support from alumni and friends is an important component of our plan to protect Truman’s distinctive qualities,” Paino said. “With diminished funding for higher education at the state level and nationwide, this campaign will channel additional resources to key areas such as student scholarships and academic program support.”
The campaign has four priorities – scholarships, academic program and faculty support, athletics and unrestricted giving through the Truman Fund for Excellence.
The $40 million fundraising effort is designed to expand educational opportunities and strengthen Truman’s core tenets of access and exceptional value. In recent years, competing priorities for taxpayer dollars have led to declining public support for higher education nationwide and threaten to place Truman’s exceptional education out of the financial reach of many qualified students. It also makes it more difficult for the institution to hire and retain high-quality faculty. “Pursue the Future” is a five-year endeavor, and its priorities embody themes essential to Truman’s mission.
Need-based and merit scholarships represent $25 million of the campaign’s overall goal.
“Central to Truman’s mission is providing deserving students from all social backgrounds the access to a high-quality liberal arts experience,” Paino said.
A goal of $10 million has been established for academic programs and faculty support, designed to help offset the status quo or reductions within the operating budgets of schools and departments across campus due to lingering budgetary pressure. A target of $2.5 million has been set to improve facilities, programs and scholarships for intercollegiate athletics. The campaign’s final priority is $2.5 million for unrestricted giving, allowing resources to be directed to areas of greatest need.
As the percentage of state support relative to Truman’s overall budget continues to wane, the need to grow the University’s endowment cannot be overemphasized. Truman competes for students with schools that wield significantly larger endowments, resulting in a competitive advantage for those institutions.
Since its inception in 1980, the Truman State University Foundation has worked to advance the school’s mission of providing an outstanding liberal arts education to deserving students.
After 35 years of securing private gifts to the University, the Foundation endowment is currently valued at slightly more than $39 million. As impressive as that number is, it pales in comparison to the endowments of other universities with which Truman is regularly compared and often competes with for students, even in the state of Missouri. According to the National Association of College and University Business Officers, St. Louis University and the University of Missouri system both have endowments in excess of one billion dollars, and Washington University in St. Louis has more than six billion in endowments. Bolstering Truman’s endowment fortifies the long-term health and sustainability of the University.
Truman began the advanced gifts, or “quiet phase,” of the five-year campaign on July 1, 2013, and has been generating cash, multi-year pledges and deferred gift commitments toward the goal. To date, the campaign has received $26.3 million in gift commitments from 10,868 donors. So far, a total of 80 new funds have been established, including 50 scholarship funds. More than $17 million has been raised for student scholarships.
“Pursue the Future” is Truman’s second fundraising campaign, and University officials are hopeful it will be as successful as the first. The “Bright Minds Bright Futures” campaign was a five-year endeavor that concluded in 2011 after surpassing its $30 million goal.
The results from the “Bright Minds Bright Futures” campaign were substantial and immediately felt. More than $14 million went directly to students in the form of scholarships. Nearly 200 new Foundation funds were established, including 120 new scholarships. Support from the first campaign also led to the revitalization of the annual Children’s Literature Festival on campus, as well as the creation of both the Holman Family Distinguished Speakers Series and the University’s first-ever endowed faculty chair.
“Pursue the Future” will continue to support the University and its students in the same manner.
Now that “Pursue the Future” is in its public phase, regional campaigns that align with Truman alumni chapters have been established in order to reach greater numbers of alumni on a more personal level. Regional locations include northeast Missouri, mid-Missouri, St. Louis, Kansas City, central Iowa, Chicago, Denver, Arizona, Dallas and the mid-Atlantic.
The public phase is designed to seek gift support from all Truman constituents to successfully complete the campaign.
A volunteer chair and campaign committee will guide efforts in those areas, including a campaign kickoff event followed by efforts to secure commitments from alumni and friends. More than 100 volunteers are expected to assist in the regional campaigns.
Donations to the University can come in many forms, and in the past, donors have come up with creative ways to make a statement with their gifts. Numerous Foundation scholarships have been established and named in honor of family members, friends and professors. Additionally, scholarships can be established to specifically aid students from a particular high school, region or area of study.
Exactly where a gift to the University is directed is entirely up to the giver. Some of the more popular funds include scholarships, athletics, the Kohlenberg Lyceum Series, Pickler Memorial Library and the Parent Project. All gifts to the Truman State University Foundation through 2018 will count toward the $40 million goal of the “Pursue the Future” campaign, and gifts of any size help make a difference.
Alumni and friends who are interested in making a gift to help support the “Pursue the Future” campaign can do so at any time.
Gifts can always be made online at truman.edu/giving. In addition to submitting a payment online, visitors have the option to print a contribution form that can be mailed to the University, and donations are always accepted by phone. Information on planned gifts, matching gifts and various other ways to give back can be found online or by calling (800) 452-6678.
The campaign is scheduled to conclude in June 2018.