‘Call Yourself a Team’
Pace University is a private metropolitan university that has campuses in New York City and Westchester, N.Y.
The institution currently is in the midst of a $100 million campaign — the most ambitious fundraising effort in its more than 100-year history — to fund scholarships, support faculty, install state-of-the-art technology and facilities on campus, and improve its academic programming. Thanks in part to a $15 million gift from Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, the campaign had raised $65 million by the time it went public in late April.
Here, Laura Fredricks, vice president of philanthropy for Pace, discusses the institution’s fundraising programs and challenges.
FundRaising Success: Tell me about the fundraising program at Pace.
Laura Fredricks: Traditionally we raise about $10 million a year. And that’s through the annual fund, special events, scholarships. And then that gets added to how much we raise with the capital campaign, so in any given year that number can go from $18 million to $26 million.
FS: What is the major source of your funding?
LF: I would say alumni and friends.
FS: How do they give?
LF: In a whole variety of ways. We have about 117,000 alumni, so since we’re on a campaign, most of the people who’ve given us gifts or who have the potential to give us gifts, we talk with them, meet with them one-on-one and explain the three parts of the capital campaign and ask them individually. Some come in through, obviously, our direct-mail program. Some of the money we raise through our events. We have a mainstay event called Leaders in Management, which raises quite a bit of money; and then each of the schools and colleges, by and large, have their own event that’s specific to their school and college.
FS: What are some of the unique challenges you face at Pace?
LF: The budget and the staff to be able to go out and see [alumni]. It can be so frustrating; they’re such great people and, of course, you want to see just about as many as you can.