At the Crossroads’ looking for $50.3 million dollars

At the Crossroads looking for $50.3 million dollars

by Sarah Powell

“At the Crossroads” is a fundraising campaign by Simpson College to raise $50.3 million.

The campaign has only been in action for about the last 10 months, but the planning started long before the beginning of the campaign.

In planning the campaign, the college looked at everything that they want for the school, and at how much it would all cost. They then took that number and did a feasibility study, which can take six months or more to complete, to find out how much money they could realistically raise to make improvements.

That amount of money determined the objectives of the campaign. Once the objectives were agreed upon and the amount of money to spend on each objective was finalized the campaign could become active.

In the case of the Crossroads Campaign, most of the money will be used for the ‘Centers of Excellence.’ The centers of excellence include biology/ environmental science, management, accounting and economics, computer science, music and education.

The college believes these departments show existing strengths.

The campaign is still in its first stage, or its leadership phase. The stage is also known as the quiet phase because during this stage not many people know of the campaign’s existence.

According to Dennis Hunt, vice president for college advancement, it is during this stage that the college solicits those prospective donors who are closest to the college with the biggest potential to donate.

These donors are considered family members to the college. Those family members include trustees, key donors, key foundations, key corporations and faculty and staff of the college.

In the 10 months the campaign has been in operation, President R. Kevin LaGree has been going personally to present the campaign to the 61 trustees of the college to gain their support.

With him he took a campaign book titled, “At the Crossroads-The Campaign for Simpson.” On the first page is a letter from LaGree stating the purpose of the Crossroads Campaign.

In the third paragraph of the letter he said, “Today we find ourselves at a crossroads. We can stay a good school with a strong reputation in Iowa. Or we can become known from coast-to-coast as the college that takes a chance with students of promise. With new resources from our alumni and friends, we can be recognized as a treasure-a college with a unique mission and a proud history of taking a risk on promise.”

While 35 of the trustees live in Iowa the rest are spread out over the United States. Busy schedules have made it hard to meet with them all immediately so the current phase may last awhile.

Simpson waited though because about 30 percent of the money needed to reach the campaign goal came from the trustees.

Also during this stage, the campaign steering committee, which is made up of people involved in the college, such as LaGree and alumni, re-evaluate the goals of the campaign by looking at the reactions of the trustees.

“No one the president has met with has said ‘No.’ The key leadership has been extremely supportive,” said Hunt.

Before leaving the stage and going public, the campaign steering committee will look at four things:

* Has 40- 50 percent of the goal been met?

* Where does the rest of the money needed come from?

* Is the goal guaranteed?

* Should the objectives be revised?

Once the campaign is made public knowledge the amount of money raised will slow down. Also, people will be watching the school more closely to see if they reached their goal.

The campaign was in full swing but that could change. One area that could delay the public announcement is the stock market.

Due to the changes in the stock market since Sept. 11, many trustees want more time before they commit their money.

That has not made them less generous according to Hunt, but they want more time to figure in their money. A lot of the money given to the school by trustees was in the way of stocks, business investments and savings and is worth millions of dollars.

Only 50 out of 11,000 alumni have been reached and none of the faculty and staff.

According to Hunt, they are getting close to the point that the campaign, “At the Crossroads,” will be made public knowledge.