|Volume XXVIII Issue 24||April 10, 2003|
Annual giving, special gifts will fund
Jessica Patchett - Assistant News Editor
The third goal of the NewCentury@Elon plan answers the question that students, faculty, parents and donors ask after hearing the new proposals outlined in the first two goals: How will Elon pay for all of the growth and development proposed?
Elon administration wants to "provide resources to support excellence," according to the NewCentury Blueprint for Excellence. In the near future, these resources include high priority projects outlined in the plan, such as library and residential hall improvements, adding faculty positions, enhancing technology, increasing financial aid and advancing toward accreditation in the journalism and business schools, according to Gerald Whittington, vice president for business, finance and technology.
Projects in the NewCentury plan will be funded through many avenues, including a combination of tuition, federal grants, annual giving and special gifts.
As Elon is a tuition-dependent institution, many projects will be funded immediately by the annual operating budget. However, the university looks to fund the largest NewCentury endeavors through fundraising efforts.
Elonís sources of funding
Through tuition, Elon raises most of the money it uses each year to fund the daily operation of the university. In addition, Elon seeks federal grants and special gifts to use toward major goals the university outlines each year. Professors, departments and organizations apply for federal grants to fund special projects such as the Elon Enterprise Academy, according to Larry Vellani, director of foundation relations with Institutional Advancement.
To fund capital projects, enhance the annual operating budget and build endowment, Institutional Advancement continually solicits special gifts. Donors make contributions to the Elon endowment, which supplies returns each year for use by specific areas of the university.
If a donor specifies for what aspect of the university money should be used, such as a scholarship for a certain type of student or function of the university, the returns from that contribution must be spent in the manner specified by the donor. Gifts designed to help Elon in a specific way are restricted gifts.
Unrestricted gifts often are made to the Elon fund to aid in any project the budget describes. Many of these gifts are made to the Elon fund, a general fund which supports the endowment projects of the university.
Each year, Elon compiles a wish list of projects needing funding and distributes it to past and possible donors, private and institutional, according to Vellani. As a vast majority of gifts are restricted, which projects are completed each year is highly dependent on what givers choose from the wish list.
"Youíre at the mercy of who gave you what," said Gerald Whittington.
Funding the NewCentury plan
In the past, Elon has borrowed money for major projects through tax-exempt bonds, which Elon could issue because of the low interest rate, Whittington said. In the coming years, Elon will fund projects only when enough special gifts have been pledged to the development of each project.
The Koury Business School is a high priority on Elonís building list. The total cost of the two buildings outlined in the current plan is $12 million. Elon will take $3 million from the Elon fund and combine it with $9 million in fundraising to build the two buildings, according to Whittington.
"We wonít build it until we fundraise it," Whittington said.
Most of the projects outlined in the NewCentury plan will have to wait for funding, but footing the bill for new student housing will be done without the securement of funds. Housing will instead be funded immediately though the annual operating budget and by tuition and gifts which Elon has already received, according to Whittington Because new students will live in the residents each year, student housing can be perpetually funded by room and board, while capital projects must wait for funding from a special gift.
Annual giving will provide much of the foundation for the projects outlined in the NewCentury plan, according to Vellani. Elonís annual giving is far below the average giving of U.S. News Top 10 Southern Universities, according to the NewCentury Blueprint for Excellence.
The NewCentury@Elon plan states: "Elon is too dependent on enrollment growth and tuition increases. To preserve what is best about the University, we must find other sources of revenue."
According to Velanni and Nan Perkins, vice president for Institutional Advancement, other sources of revenue include students and parents, alumni, friends of the university and corporations.
"The only real impediment I see is the current market., Whittington said. "Fundraising is not easy in this market. We all recognize that this is a tough market."
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