2013 Capital Campaign / Campus / News / May 16, 2012

Fundraising advisory body to guide capital campaign

The newly formed Campaign Advisory Committee aims to create a capital campaign by March 2013.

Announced at President Teresa Amott’s installation ceremony last week, the committee, composed of 19 alumni, three parents of current students, one friend of the college and nine members of the Board of Trustees, aims to convene Sept. 27 to outline a preliminary set of objectives for the upcoming capital campaign, Knox’s first since 1995.

“It’s a focus group both for the goals of the campaign and the marketing of those goals to people in a position to give the money to make these things happen,” Amott said of the committee. “It serves as a sounding board as we plan the campaign.”

Although the goals of the campaign have not been officially set, Amott’s main concerns include raising the endowment and focusing on renovating buildings on campus.

“Alumni Hall will be the first building in this campaign,” she said. “SMC [Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center] clearly needs a renovation. The Aux Gym [Auxiliary Gymnasium] needs to be renovated. We need to expand academic space on campus. We need more residence halls and more contemporary residence halls. The library is beginning to get crowded. There’s a whole set of things,” Amott said.

Vice President for Advancement Beverly Holmes, describing herself as the “administrative assistant” of the campaign, noted this committee was not typical, as 12 of the 23 members of the committee graduated between 1980 and the 2000s.

“We decided since it had been a long time since we had done a campaign that we really wanted a very diverse group of people that represented the diversity of the Knox campus,” Holmes said, noting that members lived as far away as New York, San Diego, Calif. and Jacksonville, Fla.

In the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on April 26 in Chicago, Holmes stated that alumni made it clear that they wanted a continuation of the Knox experience throughout the capital campaign.

“When people attend Knox, people feel they have a very intimate experience with this college,” Holmes said. “The alumni were very clear in saying, ‘We expect that kind of still, intimate, close relationship as alumni. We expect the college to be personal with us.’”

Holmes stated that one of the major flaws of the last capital campaign, 1995-2002’s “Knox Now,” was that of the $126 million the campaign raised, 64 percent came in the form of deferred gifts that the college has yet to receive.

“In reality, my feeling is this was more like a 46 million dollar campaign, not a 126 million dollar campaign,” she said. “I think our focus is right now, in a campaign, you want to keep your deferred gifts at 20 to 30 percent.”

Amott echoed her sentiment, noting that the previous capital campaign was much different from ones she had previously known.

“The current campaign will differ from the last campaign by seeking to realize some of the pledges in a very short period of time,” she said.

Although a target goal has not yet been set, Amott noted that colleges generally try to raise more money than they did in previous campaigns.

“I would expect this campaign to be more than $125 million,” she said.

Although the ad-hoc Campaign Advisory Committee will dissolve by February or March of 2013, no end date for the capital campaign itself has been established.

“You used to be able to do a campaign in five years,” Amott said of the undertaking. “I think that’s unrealistic. I think it’s going to take more than five years. I don’t know how much longer.”

No conclusions will be reached until the Sept. 27 meeting of the Campaign Advisory Committee, but Holmes is confident that the committee will determine the best course of action.

“Teresa’s taking a close look at almost every function here in the college and trying to decide where she feels were short-staffed,” she said. “Right now, we’re just brainstorming and have a lot of ideas.”

John Bird

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