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Donations increase despite economy

January 28th, 2010

During a time of thoughtful spending, John Carroll University alumni are showing that giving back to their alma mater has great value.

Jim McDonough, a 1955 JCU alumnus, and his wife, Jacque, gifted $1 million to the University last month. The donation will be used for the President’s Opportunity Fund, which allots money to be spent on academic programs, campus renovations and other projects chosen at University President Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J.’s discretion.

Vice President for University Advancement, Doreen Riley, said that the administration has many suggestions for infrastructure improvements on campus, all of which require more funding than the donation provides.

The administration gave no specific project for which the money would be used, but have

some ideas.

“The Bohannon Science Center is sitting empty. We’d like to do something with that,” said Riley.

Earlier this month, JCU also received a commitment from an anonymous donor for a $4.45 million bequest to the University. The gift is to be used as scholarship money and will become part of the University’s endowment.

Riley said the donor hopes that her generosity will inspire others to make a gift to JCU.

“We have a culture of success here at Carroll. Our alumni understand that better than anyone. The fact that they are willing to dig in and help support us financially at this time is a product of their own experience at John Carroll,” said Niehoff in an e-mail. “Our alumni are living the Carroll Vision: learning, leadership and service. I am grateful for the generosity of our alumni, and I am encouraged to know that they wish to make a Jesuit education possible for others.”

Alumni donations at JCU are up 29 percent this year over the same period last year, according Riley.

“In this economy, that is excellent,” said Riley. “ It demonstrates how alumni care about their alma mater.”

Beginning June 1, 2009, there have been 4,037 alumni donations to date. This is up from 3,148 donations over the same time period last year. The average gift made to the University is $827.

“With the investments in the Advancement division over the last few years, they have been reaching out and reminding our alumni of our mission,” Niehoff said. “The main message is that Jesuit education is transformative and our students need their help–especially during these economic times–and this effort has helped support things like the Carroll Fund.”

Improvements in the Student Calling Center have been influential, as well. Implementation of new technology and the use of students as callers have been important to the increase in alumni giving, according to Riley.

“With the technology, we are able to double the amount of calls made per year,” said Hallie Gallagher, assistant director of annual giving.

Technology in the Student Calling Center also allow the automatic processing of credit cards and a system that automatically sends follow-up e-mails to anyone who answers the calls from the student callers.