Monday, July 12, 2010

Hollins Fundraising 'Blew the Lid Off' Goal

Hollins University has completed the largest comprehensive fund raising campaign in its 168-year history and the largest ever for any women’s college in the South. The Hollins Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places, which began in 2002, officially ended June 30 with $161.6 million raised, far exceeding its goal of $125 million.

“The magnificent generosity of alumnae and friends blew the lid off the campaign goal,” said Campaign Chair Wyndham Robertson, who graduated from Hollins in 1958 and is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. “These funds will make Hollins stronger – professors will have more resources, and students will have a richer academic experience with greater scholarship support and increased opportunities to study abroad and travel for research and internships.”

The campaign helped Hollins grow its endowment from $85 million in 2003 to its present value of $130 million and enabled the university to eliminate all debt and strengthen its financial foundation.

“As a result of this campaign, we have bolstered our academic capital, enhanced student programs, and improved our campus facilities,” noted Hollins President Nancy Gray. “We are ensuring that women who are going places, whether it is in the arts, science, business, education, or community leadership, can continue to choose Hollins for their educational experience.”

The campaign was launched eight years ago with a “quiet” phase that suffered a significant setback in January 2004 when then-President Nora Kizer Bell, who originally championed the campaign’s breadth and scope, died suddenly. But with the vision and leadership of Robertson; Gray (who became president of Hollins in January 2005); the university’s Board of Trustees; and volunteer leaders such as the late Frank Batten, chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications from 1967 to 1998, the campaign persevered; by the fall of 2008, Hollins had met its original goal of $100 million. With that momentum, and to further secure its ability to meet future needs, the university revised the goal upward to $125 million.

The campaign then faced another major hurdle. When Hollins started the “public” phase in November 2008, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression was under way. Yet, as Gray explained, the university’s alumnae and friends remained steadfast in helping Hollins reach the new campaign goal.

“A lot of terrific people understood that in the midst of such a severe economic downturn, financial support for our students has never been more important,” said Gray. “They also realized their gifts and pledges will have a lasting, transforming impact on Hollins and secure her place in the forefront of women’s education in the 21st century.”

The successful completion of the Hollins Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places defies the ongoing decline nationally in individual charitable donations. In its annual report released in early June, Giving USA notes that financial gifts to education at all levels fell 3.2 percent from last year and have dropped 8.8 percent since 2007.

The gifts made during the campaign have been or will be used as follows:
  • $60.6 million added to scholarships; the university’s endowment; academic innovations such as the first-year student experience, leadership development, internships, and student research; expanding global awareness through the study abroad program; faculty development; and campus landscaping.
  • $30.3 million toward renovating campus facilities such as the science building, theatre, residence halls, fitness center, and horse barn, as well as protecting Hollins’ unique sense of place through environmental initiatives including conservation easements that preclude land development in the area.
  • $26 million toward funding day-to-day operations of the university or supporting efforts needing immediate, current-year funding.
  • $44.7 million for building institutional financial strength overall, including debt elimination and establishing a solid foundation for the future.