Fundraising officials in the business school are on the search for a new leader to help them reach their $75 million fundraising goal – and to keep that momentum going after the University’s $1 billion campaign wraps up.
The school recently appointed a new assistant vice president for development and alumni relations and is hiring a director of development for the school of business programs, a post that has been advertised on the University’s jobs website since Jan. 26.
The person who fills the director position will manage development staff within the school, working with alumni and other donors to expand the giving pool and bring in donations to help the school reach its $75 million fundraising goal by the end of the $1 billion campaign.
Linda Livingstone, the dean of the business school, said in an email that Natalie Fleischman, a fundraising professional with 25 years of higher education philanthropy experience with institutions like Stanford and New York universities, was recently hired as the school’s assistant vice president for development and alumni relations. Fleischman is also a GW parent.
“We are excited to have Natalie join the school and work with me to build out the GW School of Business Development and Alumni Relations team,” Livingstone said. “This includes hiring an executive director for development, a position that has been vacant and that we elected to wait to post until we had completed the AVP search.”
Livingstone said the new team will take the school’s fundraising beyond the end of the campaign, with newly hired leadership staying on to continue raising money for students, faculty, programs and facilities.
The business school aims to raise $75 million within the larger campaign, according to the $1 billion campaign website. Donations to the business school will go toward “global initiatives” and scholarships.
The $1 billion campaign includes fundraising goals for 13 schools or programs that include specific causes donors are encouraged to give to. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences has the highest fundraising goal at $225 million, and the Milken Institute School of Public Health clocks in at second with plans to raise $150 million, $85 million of which was provided by a major gift in 2014 that named the school.
The business school hopes to raise $25 million for “global initiatives,” like international programs and partnerships, $20 million for centers of excellence and innovation, $15 million for advanced learning programs and $5 million for scholarships. Academic enterprise and thought leadership, a category linked to creating future professorships, has a goal of $10 million.
University spokesman Brett Zongker declined to comment on how close the business school is to reaching its $75 million goal, but major donations over the past few years have totaled at least $9 million, including a $4.8 million endowed professorship announced in November and a recent “blended gift” – a combination of an outright gift and a pledge – that will total $1.2 million to the school’s career center. This past fiscal year, the school received two new endowed scholarship funds.
Livingstone said the school will prioritize supporting faculty and student aid as they approach the fundraising goal. University leaders said in August that they would focus the final year of the $1 billion goal for bringing in gifts for student support.
Faculty say past fundraising for the business school has been successful, and that incoming development leaders should maintain communication with faculty about gifts in-progress and how they can get involved with fundraising.
Fundraising within the business school dropped by about one-third after the school’s former dean, Doug Guthrie, was fired in August 2013 after overspending the school’s budget by $13 million.
Salah Hassan, a professor of marketing, said in an email that timing is crucial in landing a gift. He said a leader like an executive director who is trained to identify and communicate effectively with prospective donors, can be the one to determine when is the best time to ask for a donation.
“From my experience, fundraising is the art of asking the right prospect for the right gift for the right program at the right time in the right way,” Hassan said. “This position is very critical for our school of business to serve as connecting point with corporate, alumni and key stakeholders.”
Pradeep Rau, the chair of the marketing department, said most gifts to the school in the past few years have funded professorships. He said he has heard that several major donations are expected to come in soon and he hopes they benefit research and overseas travel programs.
Rau added that fundraising momentum should even after the $1 billion campaign closes.
“As the University approaches successful completion of its billion dollar campaign, the momentum needs to be maintained,” Rau said. “Development is an activity that will have to continue even after a particular campaign concludes and GWSB will have to play its part in continued fundraising.”