June 2, 2012 was an historic day in the history of West Virginia University as the WVU Foundation publicly launched A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. There was an air of excitement and anticipation among the 325 donors, volunteers, Foundation team members, and WVU faculty and staff as the video rolled out the numbers to announce the $750,000,000 goal.
A public campaign provides not only a framework for a comprehensive fund raising effort, but more importantly, it provides the opportunity for a focus on why private giving is so important to WVU.
During fiscal year 2011, private gifts, 97% of which are restricted to a specific purpose by the donor, enabled the WVU Foundation to provide WVU with $50.6 million in funds to support a variety of purposes, including scholarships and fellowships, academic program development, endowed chairs and professorships, faculty development and research, equipment and facilities, and libraries. Of that $50.6 million, $12.4 million was directed toward student scholarship support, which made attendance at WVU a reality for many students. Another $9.4 million was directed toward salaries and benefits, which enable WVU to attract or retain high caliber faculty for teaching, research, and public service, and $16.4 million was provided for capital projects and equipment.
People support campaigns like A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University for many reasons. Some people give because of students – keeping access and dreams alive. Some people give because a loved one was treated or healed or cared for at our medical center. Others give because WVU, by virtue of its teaching, research, and service mission, lifts up the state we call home. Some give because they believe WVU has the potential to solve a global problem or the ingenuity to create new technologies, or the entrepreneurial spirit to grow new business. People give to WVU because they want to be part of its success; because they know the University is moving in a positive direction. Some people give out of a sense of responsibility because they benefitted from those who gave in the past. Some simply give out of love for WVU.
Every gift, whether large or small, makes a difference. It makes a difference in the life of a student, a faculty or staff member, or in the ability of WVU to provide a quality educational experience. Equally as important, is that every gift, large or small, comes from an individual, couple, foundation or corporation who seeks to see something good happen through their generosity. Take for example Ben and Jo Statler, whose love and passion for WVU has translated into a level of giving not yet matched. Or Sarah Soliman, whose same love and passion for WVU prompted her to establish an endowment in honor of a beloved professor to help students studying abroad. Or the many $25 and $50 donors who step up each year to help the Mountaineer Marching Band with travel expenses. The stories are many of generous people wanting to make a difference.
As the state’s flagship university and land-grant institution, WVU needs the resources to continue making a difference and changing lives across our great state and beyond -- now more than ever.
A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University is about investing in the values, ambition, intellect, and mindset that define one of the most exciting universities in the country. With support from alumni, friends, corporations, foundations and partners, West Virginia University will be in a position to lead the national and global dialogue on energy, health, the environment, the economy…and so much more.
Learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved at www.astateofminds.com or call 800-847-3856.
(R. Wayne King is president and CEO of the West Virginia University Foundation.)