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Fund-Raiser Works to Bring Together Programs With Potential Supporterse


From Dateline (October 28, 2004)

Q: How would you describe your role as a fund-raiser?

We facilitate gifts. We are the connectors. Most people assume we ask for money – and in some cases we do – but in reality, we find people who are philanthropists and volunteers and already supporting our programs. We ask them to connect with and invite their friends and peers to performances. And sometimes, they will actually do peer-to-peer solicitations – that’s the highest and best form of fund raising.

We also research and identify foundations or corporations, so part of my job is to write proposals and grant applications.


Q: What is your goal for the Performing Arts Center?

We’re trying to raise $5 million, which is over and above what the state provided us.


Q: Why $5 million?

We received $39 million from the state for the building, not including funds to equip and furnish it. Out of the three bids we received, the lowest was $5 million over the budget.


Q: Where will the $5 million come from and what is involved in obtaining it?

Mostly from individuals. We started by forming a campaign task force of staff and faculty members and volunteers who are big supporters of the project. Most of them have made their own gifts and we’re asking them to help us connect with people they think will support the project.

It also involves Jerry Samuelson, dean of the College of the Arts, department chairs and various faculty members connecting us with alumni, and people who buy tickets and support the arts in the community. We’re out there meeting people all the time at lunches or receptions, attending group activities. We’re also identifying corporations and foundations and writing proposals. A big part of our efforts is bringing prospective donors to campus to see our students perform. Once people see them they become involved and want to give. Three of our major gifts were a result of people seeing “A Chorus Line” last spring. We received another gift after a couple saw Concert Under the Stars. Many other gifts are from music supporters.

Q: What other ways are you raising money?

We have a lot of different strategies to raise the $5 million. In addition to the campaign task force and bringing people to performances, another strategy is to give people an opportunity to give at smaller levels, and one of the ways we’re doing that is the seat campaign [see article in the Oct. 14 issue of Dateline]. Seats are $1,000 each and we already have about 45 seats sold. These smaller gifts are just as important because they add up to one big gift.

This gives the campus an opportunity to support this magnificent new center. The good thing is they can give through It’s Our University payroll deduction. Many people on campus have said, “When do I get to give?” It was our strategy to wait until we were further along so people could see the building and how fast it’s progressing, because people get more excited once they see a building. If they sign up within the next month or two, they will have a year to pay for it and their plaque will be there for the opening night gala, which will be the first public use of the facility.


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Q&A with Muzzy

• Milly Muzzy

• How would you describe your role as a fund-raiser?

• What is your goal for the Performing Arts Center?

• Why $5 million?

• Where will the $5 million come from and what is involved in obtaining it?

What other ways are you raising money?

• What can you tell us about opening night January 2006?

• Has anything been planned beyond opening night?

• Dean Samuelson is leading hard-hat tours for current and prospective donors. Do you plan to offer them to the rest of the campus?


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