An Update on Recent Organizational Changes in Institutional Advancement

05/16/2013

Contributed by Christopher Biehn

Since my arrival last spring, the Institutional Advancement (IA) team, the IA and Trusteeship Committees of the Board of Trustees, and I have been focused on creating a strategic plan for our division and how to align the operation best with the engagement and fundraising demands in the years ahead as part of IC 20/20. I want to share with you some recent organizational changes and steps we have taken in order to position us for that future.

To successfully raise an increased level of funds each year, we must focus our resources on engaging alumni, parents, and friends as efficiently and strategically as possible, and identifying and involving a greater number of individuals with the capacity and inclination to make leadership-level gifts to our college, as these donors will be crucial to our success in the upcoming campaign.

The staff and I have conducted research, reviewed recommendations from fundraising counsel, and participated in alumni attitude studies administered by Eduventures. All of these findings point to a consistent set of conclusions about our areas of focus and our course of action. We’ve also kept in mind that we are operating in a challenging fiscal environment, and we have endeavored to address these needs with minimal changes in the staffing levels that we already have committed to us for the campaign.

1) Strengthen our engagement programs. The Eduventures survey confirmed that strong engagement programs need to be the cornerstone of our long-term growth. This does not mean “more” events but, rather, more strategic partnership with mutually beneficial events. To achieve this objective, I am pleased to announce the following:

a. Maura Donovan joined us on January 21 as the associate director of regional programs and will be working with our regionally based alumni, parents, and friends on designing a new series of programs using these findings.

b. Carrie Brown has been appointed the executive director of alumni relations and will join us on May 28. Carrie comes to IC from Rice University, where she was executive director of alumni affairs. I will be asking her to share our Alumni Weekend plans with our partners and devise a new budget model for on-campus events, along with an expanded range of volunteer engagement opportunities for alumni, parents, and friends of IC.

2) Strengthen our relationship with supporters of IC. Holistic oversight is needed to ensure we are creating the long-term and meaningful relationships between our donors and the college, bringing our donors forward -- from participation-level annual giving to President's Associates to major gifts and planned gifts. To do this, we must ensure the college is efficiently allocating the appropriate amount of time and attention to the right set of programs and to those prospects able to make commitments at each level. I am pleased to share with you the following hires/promotions to ensure our fundraising success:

a. Steve Savage joined IA as the associate vice president of advancement on March 18. Steve comes to IC from Syracuse University, where he was assistant dean in the L. C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, and played a key role in the recent Campaign for Syracuse University that landed over goal at $1,044,000,000. This AVP role is specifically charged with oversight of all of our front-line fundraising programs; Steve will work with the individual schools and Intercollegiate Athletics on creating a new model for engagement of our donors and prospects that ensures a strong focus on college priorities without compromising a donor-centric approach to fundraising.

b. David Brown has been appointed the director of major gifts. This role is charged with ensuring engagement and solicitation of donors who will contribute significant gifts for our institutional priorities. David's immediate work will encompass building a team of talented major gift officers to help ensure that our strategic and tactical goals are met.

c. Warren Calderone has been appointed the director of corporate and foundation relations and will be starting on May 28. Warren brings to Ithaca College a significant amount of valuable and well-rounded experience. Most recently he has been serving as the director of foundation, government, and corporate relations at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Upon his arrival, Warren will be leading our efforts to reestablish a program of robust strategic partnerships with corporations with significant alumni populations and/or highly placed alumni, and helping to elevate the profile of Ithaca College nationally by engaging foundations.

d. Eric Rosario has been promoted to senior director of leadership gifts and prospect development. Joining him as part of this program will be Nancy Massicci as director of parent giving and Jennifer Gabriel as director of President's Associates. This team will serve as the "engine room" for fundraising volunteer engagement by personal outreach, along with training and engaging a robust cadre of volunteers to help identify and solicit peers for the IC Annual Fund and our campaign priorities.

Also, the Advancement Communications team (Christopher Pollock, Helene Maddux, and Wendy Hankle) was shifted over to the Office of Marketing Communications to capitalize on existing infrastructures and increase overall efficiencies.

These personnel changes come in addition to the hiring of Rob de la Fuente as director of the Ithaca College Annual Fund; Craig Evans as director of planned giving; and Greg Kimbell as director of advancement services, all of which occurred in 2012.

These new hires and appointments have necessitated some organizational and structural changes, which are reflected in this organizational chart. These changes not only set our institution up for a successful campaign and beyond, but they also provide opportunity for the recognition of excellence within our team.

All of these changes have involved both Institutional Advancement and many of our partners across campus, including those in academic, athletic, and student services units. I want to thank all of you for your support and partnership -- I am excited to see us move forward in support of IC 20/20 and I look forward to working with you to ensure our success in building an even stronger culture of engagement and philanthropy.

Chris Biehn
Vice President, Institutional Advancement
 

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