By Acadia Otlowski
Currently tucked away in a quiet office in Davidson Hall, the CCSU Foundation, which provides scholarship money for students, is working to expand the amount of money it gives to the university. The CCSU Foundation, which works closely with the Office of Institutional Advancement, will be moving downtown in the coming weeks.
“We are here to advance the mission of the university,” said Christopher Galligan, the Vice President For Institutional Advancement, who states that about four percent of CCSU graduates have donated.
“[It’s a] good move for the university and the city,” he said, continuing that the move will allow the foundation to “leverage our strengths” and be “part of the community.”
“We need to be more aggressive in fundraising. That’s a challenge, obviously we need more to give back. [We need] to get alumni reconnected and engage,” said Galligan.
Galligan estimates that there are 76,000 alumni from the university, last year, only 4,431 donated to the foundation. Galligan explains that the scholarships are meted out via an application process. He said that the Foundation supports the mission of the university, increasing retention and enrollment. Galligan said that the Foundation understands the economic climate, and said that the Office of Institutional Advancement and the CCSU Foundation needs to do a better job fundraising.
Galligan estimates that the average “gift” awarded to students is $1,500. The Foundation is looking to grow the value of the endowment, the ultimate goal is 80 million. The interest off this endowment is what determines the amount of money available for scholarship.
But Galligan also said the institution also gives faculty a lot of grants, but said that, “the top priority is getting money back to students.”
“[We] want to get alumni to connect. [We need to] appeal to any emotional attachment,” said Galligan, who hopes to capitalize on student stories and successes. There are efforts that the Office of Institutional Advance is making with the Student Government Association, including the creation of clubs like young alumni clubs and future alumni clubs. Another initiative was alumni as mentors. Galligan states that the foundation hasn’t had the resources in the past, but is hoping to expand its programs in the future.
Galligan wants to use the alumni base for increasing opportunities of co-ops, internships and networking.
The foundation wants alumni to “Not pay it forward, pay it back,” according to Cindy Cayer, Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement.
“That is truly what we’re about: student success,” she continued, saying that it is important to have alumni connect their success in life with their university.