Future generations of students will benefit from money raised in the Chadron State Foundation’s first-ever multi-million-dollar campaign
By Justin Haag
When alumni and other supporters arrived to campus for the centennial homecoming this fall, there was a lot more to celebrate than 100 years of the college’s past. They celebrated the future.
The Chadron State Foundation announced on the eve of homecoming, Sept. 30, 2011, that it had soared past the goal of its first-ever multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign. That night, campaign organizers announced that the effort, which began five years ago, had raised $16,511,712, far surpassing its original goal of $11 million. The foundation has continued raising funds for the campaign and thousands of more dollars have been received since the announcement.
The campaign has amassed funds for endowments, the foundation’s annual fund and two building projects. A large portion of the proceeds will assist with items ranging from scholarships and equipment to student and faculty support. The building projects consist of the construction of a new Rangeland Complex and the creation of the Events Center, a renovation and expansion of the aging Armstrong Physical Education Building.
The fundraising project has come a long way toward helping the college meet its everlasting mission of accessibility for students of diverse financial backgrounds. Through the efforts, more than 50 new scholarships, both annual and endowed, were created. Also, 21 endowments will be established through estate plans.
Dr. Janie Park, Chadron State College president, said the institution has “amazing alumni and friends,” as displayed by the high percentage of the campaign’s proceeds coming from their contributions.
The campaign’s overall goal has been reached, but Park said the work won’t end. Campaign organizers say any additional funds will only help the projects navigate any possible obstacles in the Nebraska Legislature. About $3.5 million of the total raised has been designated for the capital projects. To lessen the state’s costs, the foundation is raising $2 million for each of the building projects of the campaign.
Many of the donations to the facilities projects were large enough to garner naming rights – an honor reserved for contributions of $10,000 or more. Of the more than 40 naming opportunities in the Events Center, only about a dozen are still available.
A number of procedural steps have been taken to make the projects a reality. Both are on the Nebraska Legislature’s list of capital construction requests.
In September 2011, the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees accepted and approved the design development plans for the Rangeland Complex and approved the creation of further detailed construction documents for the facility. College officials hope to see ground broken on the first phase of the facility this spring.
At the same meeting, the NSCS board approved the creation of schematic design documents for the renovation and expansion of the Armstrong Physical Education Building. The renovation of the existing facility is expected to begin soon, and some staff may be moved to portable office space outside the facility as work gets under way, said Dale Grant, CSC vice president for administration.
The announcement of the campaign’s success – which was made with fanfare by Park, foundation executive director Connie Rasmussen, and campaign co-chairmen Randy and Lorrie Bauer of Chadron and Chad and Cheryl Emanuel of Waukee, Iowa — sparked applause from the 200 people attending the foundation’s annual gala and trustees dinner. Many of those in attendance were part of the National Campaign Leadership Council, a 100-member group of CSC supporters from coast to coast who were recruited five years ago to assist in making the effort a success.
The campaign organizers noted that its success is especially impressive, when considering the recession and stock market crash that occurred shortly after the fundraising began.
Rasmussen said that Park, who brought experience with comprehensive campaigns from other institutions when hired in 2005, was a “true asset” during the process. Through the campaign, Park met a myriad of alumni – hearing stories about their college experiences and love of CSC.
Rasmussen said many other factors made the campaign successful, including alumni relationships built over the years, and maintained by faculty, staff and the alumni office.
She also gave kudos to the foundation employees for taking on such a large project, although a consultant advised it would be difficult with such a small staff. She said the Bauers, Emanuels, athletic director Brad Smith, and other members of the foundation board and NCLC were vital to the effort.
“In addition to financial support, board members and alumni opened doors to other contacts they thought might be interested in the campaign,” she said. “This historic campaign was a first in offering other options to provide support to campus besides scholarships and general support. The board stepped up to the next level to meet the demands of this campaign and they supported it financially and with volunteer hours.”
The campus community and the Chadron community were also a huge part of the success of this campaign. Their ongoing support over the years made it possible to even consider a campaign of this magnitude.
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