New campaign goal increases scholarships from $30M to $65M

With the realignment of Baldwin Wallace University’s Comprehensive Campaign, the proposed new allocation of funds plans to support a thriving Baldwin Wallace University by increasing scholarship dollars.

The original allocation dispersed $95 million for new buildings — including the new Math, Computer Science, Engineering and Physics building announced on Oct. 5 as the Austin E. Knowlton Center — leaving the remaining $30 million to be used to increase the money for student scholarships.

As of Homecoming weekend, the Board of Trustees approved the new campaign which allocates $65 million for student scholarships, said Patrick Dunlavy, vice president for Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement at BW and the coordinator of the campaign.

The original six-year plan to raise the money to support the campaign was put to a halt when the Berea Planning Commission disapproved the new building plan.

“There was a bit of a hiccup and when we tried to get the Berea Planning Commission to approve the MACs building,” he said. “They turned us down because they had changed the zoning laws several years ago about how far a building has to be set back from the street. That disappointment cost us $5 million additional dollars and a lost year. Thankfully, we came up with a second plan to build the building on North Quad.”

This problem encouraged them to go back to the drawing board and restructure the campaign, increasing the scholarship fund money from $30 million to $65 million, he said.

The money will not be directly seen as it will be placed in the endowment, or money that is invested to provide additional income for future expenditures.

Today, the endowment is $180 million and additional funds will make a big difference, Dunlavy said. The university wants to increase the percentage of money pulled from the endowments because it is critical for the future of BW students, he said.

The money that is funding the campaign comes from several sources, including the Board of Trustees, alumni, supporting corporations and organizations, and friends of the University, he said.

While the campaign is still in the “quiet phase,” Dunlavy said, “We’re well on our way. At the halfway point, we are in very good shape and very optimistic about achieving our goal, if not exceeding it.”

Shift in focus to
benefit enrollment

The change in priority may help the effort to raise funds. Generally speaking, said Scott Schulz, vice president of Enrollment Engagement, those willing to give money to the university would rather see the money directly helping students. The donors can be anyone who wants to contribute to a robust thriving future of BW.

“When it comes to fundraising from a variety of donors, they’re more motivated to support student scholarships,” said Schulz. “When we talk about raising money, there is a real commitment for people who want to donate and support BW to try to support the financial needs of students. When we think about the likelihood of a campaign being able to reach its targets, shifting that towards an investment of student scholarships will definitely enhance the likelihood of success.”

Every decade, the university proposes a new campaign to help the future of the students. The money is given to the university in multiple fashions including cash donations, pledges of cash over a period of four or five years and planned gifts, or estate gifts, which are received when someone passes away, said Schulz.

The $65 million will not come in all at once but instead will come in over a period of years as it grows interest in BW’s endowment. The university has a small draw from the endowment annually and the donated money will help increase the percentage of money that is given as scholarships, he said.

The money raised by the 19-person Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement team “represents a commitment to understanding of affordability of higher education,” Schulz said. “[It is] realizing many families are doing their absolute best to make ends meet and position their children to be able to access higher education. BW wants to continue to do what it can to partner with those families to make sure we minimize cost as being a barrier to what we have to offer at BW which is a fit for many, many varieties of socioeconomic backgrounds.”

The number of students who attend private higher education institutions in Ohio is decreasing annually, according to Ohio Higher Ed Department of Higher Education. This statewide issue led BW to think about the priorities of the institution and discover what the student’s needs are, Schulz said.

“We are one of many private institutions in Ohio that the demographic changes are certainly impacting the number of students who are attending the institution” Schulz said. “We have to find ways to ensure the students that are in our region can afford to be here. Every year, those demographic realities become more tangible.”

Comparing original plan
to altered approach

There were four major purposes to raise $125 million for BW as laid out in the original plan, said Dunlavy. The first proposed campaign laid out $25 million for Math, Computer Science, Engineering and Physics building, $51 million for the new Student Center, $24 million for the renovations at the Strosacker Hall, also known as the Student Union, and the remaining $30 million for student scholarships.

The new proposed allocation disperses $25 million for the Math, Computer Science, Engineering and Physics building, $20 million for the Strosacker Hall renovations, $5 million for a purchase of a building on Front Street to be renovated and turned into a Health Sciences building, $65 million for student scholarships and $15 million for strategic initiatives. In all, the new campaign is expected to be $130 million.

The newest feature to the plan is the $15 million strategic investment fund for future projects, something the university has never had before, said Dunlavy. The fund has multiple potential uses, such as money provided for new majors, faculty, facilities, new programs and enhancing study abroad.

“Think about that strategic fund — who knows that we might want to do with that money in the future [and] who knows what the new ideas will be in the future which will all impact the students,” Dunlavy said. “If you think about it, everything we do at BW is for the students. That’s our mission, that’s our purpose. The campaigns, which happen about every decade, are about the students.”

While the most important part of the campaign is the $65 million scholarship money, all aspects of the campaign will benefit the students, said Dunlavy. The new and improved Math, Computer Science, Physics and Engineering building will be state of the art, as well as the other building projects. In the future, recruiting will be improved as well as retention, he said.

The campaign has a projected end date of 2022 and will be a public announcement next year as BW turns 175 years old.