Update from Institutional Engagement January 2010

IE continues to rebuild its staffing and fundraising efforts.  The RISD Annual Fund is ahead of its record-breaking year of FY2008, and is relaunching the Presidents Circle, a recognition society focused on donors of $1,000 or more.  Just as importantly, the number of donors to the Annual Fund this year is double last years’ – a good sign that creative marketing and increased alumni relations efforts are working to increase enthusiasm among alumni and parents.  Two $100,000 gifts in December:  one from an alumnus as his first gift to establish a new scholarship fund, and another from current parents to support new initiatives in support of students, are samples of recent successes.

Under the leadership of Louise Olson, two new staff have joined Leadership Giving:  Molly Garrison, most recently from the Wheeler School, is the new Gift Planning Officer and Talya Westbrook, most recently from Mt. Holyoke, is the new Leadership Giving Officer.   They are quickly increasing the personal outreach to alumni and parents who can consider significant gifts, and will be working closely with the president and Board members to develop new and continued gifts to RISD.

Working closely with faculty, RISD has submitted an unprecedented number of government grant proposals through the RI STAC program, the NSF EPSCoR program, and others.  Notification on these grants will occur over the next six months.  In addition, RISD received a small planning grant for the EPSCoR project, and will be awarded $150,000 through a federal appropriation (in collaboration with Brown) to fund collaborative work with small businesses focused on sustainable design.