Pomona Starts Capital Campaign for Future Projects

To foot the bill of recent development on campus, the administration is engaging in a capital campaign that will fund future projects. Though currently in the nucleus or “quiet phase,” the college plans to go public with the campaign in October 2010.“We want to involve the whole campus community in our public launch…which will probably be connected to [next year’s] Founders’ day,” said Pomona President David Oxtoby.Even in the “quiet phase,” the college has begun collecting funds from donors. Paul Eckstein PO ’62, who sits on the Board of Trustees, said institutions typically raise 40 percent of their goal during the “quiet phase” of such campaigns.“Our total fundraising is in the $60 to 70 million range so far,” Oxtoby said.Accruing funds is an elaborate process.“You start with a strategic plan…and get all the best ideas on the table,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Chris Ponce. “Your board and other academic leadership takes those ideas and does some prioritization…you figure out what’s feasible to accomplish.”Oxtoby estimated that the fundraising goal will be at least $250 million. He said that, much as he would like to increase this goal, he wants to avoid setting unreasonable expectations.Oxtoby presented the faculty with lists of tentative fundraising priorities on Sept. 22, focusing on “fostering creativity through the arts,” building community “locally and globally,” “enhancing affordability and the student experience,” and “expanding faculty and student learning.” The presentation listed several concrete goals, including providing financial support for programs in the Museum of Art, a studio art building, visiting artists, the Draper Center, an international center, program support for international departments and programs, visiting international scholars, the two residence halls already under construction, an outdoor education center, a Summer Experience Program, 10 junior faculty fellowships, and scholarships for domestic and international students. The estimated cost of all these projects is $239.5 million.Although most of the goals focus on institutional improvement, Ponce said, “some are completely budget relieving, [like] raising new endowment for financial aid.”But the goals of the campaign are continually being redefined.“[A goal of $240 million is] more than I think we can achieve,” Ponce said. “That’s more than a five-year campaign can raise…We know we still have some work to do to focus the fundraising priorities further to match what we think we can accomplish.”The college uses funds raised in the nucleus phase as an indicator of the feasibility of a goal.“Your success in that quiet phase of fundraising, the amount of commitments you receive—not just gifts, but pledges—really help inform…the ultimate size of the campaign,” Ponce said.The campaign entails a considerable amount of collaboration. Since the donations will benefit the college community as a whole, Eckstein said some consensus regarding the goals has to be reached.“You have to listen to all [your constituents] to get their ideas,” Eckstein said. “They all look at it from their own perspective…the secret is if you can get the constituencies to think beyond their narrow self-interest, then you’ve done some good.”

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