Letters to campus

August 2011

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I hope you have found creative ways to deal with the excessive heat in the Midwest this summer. When my family was moving to Kansas from Mississippi, people told us it would be fairly temperate year round. Somehow I am not sure I feel that 100-plus temperatures are temperate! Regardless of the temperature outside, I trust that your summer has been a productive and fun one.

As you may have seen previously, Kansas State set a new fundraising record this past year with more than $107 million in total gift activity. This eclipses our previous record of $99 million, which occurred prior to the recession in the final year of the Changing Lives Campaign. This is the first time Kansas State has broken the $100 million mark in private fundraising. In this letter, I would like to share with you additional details and statistics on the $107 million raised to give you a sense of how these dollars will impact campus.

Factoid 1: So, how much is $107 million? To put this in perspective, let's assume we had all $107 million given to us in $100 dollar bills. One million dollars in $100 dollar bills would translate to a stack of money approximately 43 inches tall. Thus, our total gift activity from the previous year would translate to a stack of $100 bills approximately 383 feet tall - or about 38 stories! While this may be a fun fact which can be used at parties, it doesn't really describe the impact of these funds.

Factoid 2: This past year, we had 44,712 different individuals contribute to Kansas State University. As you might expect, 68 percent of these donors reside in the state of Kansas, while the remainder are from outside Kansas. More importantly, just over half of the $107 million came from alumni and friends from out of state.

While this is an interesting statistic, it also provides some insight on the future of private fundraising for Kansas State, and the importance of a comprehensive campaign to provide philanthropic resources to achieve our K-State 2025 plan. To continue to raise significant private gifts, it will be critical for our key fundraising team (senior administration, deans, department heads, and foundation staff) to significantly increase time spent outside the state of Kansas. This will mean that many members of our college and university leadership teams will not be in their offices on campus, but rather will be traveling to develop deeper relationships with key donors and friends. This is not to say that we will ignore our many loyal Kansas State supporters who reside in Kansas — these are the folks who got us where we are as a university today. However, as many of us are out and traveling more please remember this is necessary if we are to secure the resources needed for K-State 2025.

Factoid 3: The endowment pool reached a total of $337 million, up from $277 million in fiscal year 2010. The endowment growth represents new endowed gifts, plus return on investment. The size of our endowment is one of the eight identified benchmarks for K-State 2025, and adding significant financial resources to our endowment will be critical to our success. While endowment building in itself is important, I am placing a particular emphasis on raising additional funds for endowed chairs and endowed scholarships.

While this may seem like an obvious direction to take, endowment building does have consequences. The major impact of adding money to the endowment is that it represents a tradeoff between having funds to spend immediately (which are always needed!) or spending less now because we can only spend the financial return from the endowment principal (typically 4 percent to 5 percent). While the endowment provides less money initially, the annual allocation from the endowment will be available significantly into the future.

Factoid 4: There is much to celebrate throughout the university. Athletics raised the most this past year ($29.1 million), followed by Engineering ($25 million), Agriculture ($10.5 million), and university-wide initiatives ($10.3 million). Totals for other units included Veterinary Medicine ($4.6 million), Arts and Sciences ($4.5 million), Human Ecology ($3.6 million), Business Administration ($2.6 million), Alumni Association ($2.2 million), Architecture, Planning and Design ($1.5 million), K-State Salina ($1 million), and Education ($.9 million).

Factoid 5: So, what immediate impact will these dollars have on the Kansas State campus? These funds will pay for many different activities, buildings, and scholarships on campus. A few key highlights include the following:

We secured pledges for the first four endowed Presidential Scholarships (a total-cost-of-attendance academic scholarship to Kansas State University) which will allow us to compete more effectively with other Big 12 schools for the best and brightest Kansas high school graduates.

We secured a pledge to provide 25 students with a $5,000 international study abroad scholarship annually for four years and nine endowed scholarships thereafter, which will allow more of our students to develop a broader view of the world.

We added six new endowed professorships and chairs this past year including:

  • Steven M. and Kay L. Theede Chair in Engineering
  • Harold O. and Jane C. Massey Neff Professorship in Mechanical Engineering
  • James M. and Laura E. Johnson Engineering Faculty Endowment
  • Dr. John Emery Professorship in Veterinary Medicine
  • Carl R. and Mary T. Ice Industrial Engineering Professorship for Logistics
  • McCune and Middlekauff Faculty Fellowship for K-State Salina

These endowed positions are critical to provide supplemental salary support and professional development funds to help retain high performing faculty members at Kansas State.

We secured funds for campus construction and renovation including major gifts towards the Student Welcome Center (East Memorial Stadium Renovation), Basketball Training Facility, Justin Hall expansion, the Alumni Center, and Waters Hall. With decreasing state resources we will need to rely more heavily on private philanthropy to assist us in developing modern teaching and research space.

Factoid 6: So how did we raise this much money this year? First, our alumni and friends have responded very positively to K-State 2025. Many of our donors mention that they see a clear sense of direction for Kansas State University — and they see how their gifts will help us achieve our goal. Second, fundraising is a team sport. We discuss "One K-State" when we are visiting donors, which means that athletics, the alumni association, academic affairs, and the foundation are all on the same page with the same agenda. Finally, our senior leadership team is simply on the road more visiting with donors, friends, corporations, and foundations. While it means that many of us are away from campus more, the travel and personal interactions are making a difference.

In closing, let me congratulate Fred Cholick, president and CEO of the foundation, and all of the Kansas State University Foundation members on an outstanding year. Lets go get $110 million next year!

Go Cats!

Kirk