All Gifts Great and Small
Among human endeavors, “giving” is a unique proposition: We give our time, our wealth, our labors in an act of trust and selflessness, and, in effect, it is the act, rather than the thing, that makes all the difference.
As the 17th-century Spanish author and Jesuit priest Baltasar Gracian said, “The great art of giving consists in this: The gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.”
The University of Baltimore’s Uniquely UB capital campaign has entered its final phase—a time when alumni are being asked to contribute in ways that are meaningful to them, but also affordable. It’s this kind of incremental giving, in which flexibility is the key, that will build a fundraising platform for the University and put its $40 million campaign goal over the top.
“With the help of our alumni, friends and community partners, we have been enormously successful in increasing overall alumni engagement and in generating a new level of interest in UB among multiple audiences,” says Theresa Silanskis, M.P.A. ’95, vice president of the Office of Institutional Advancement. “This work to date has involved a relatively small group of alumni and friends who have been especially generous to the institution. Now, as we enter the truly public part of the campaign, we are going to rely more on those who want to give to UB because they recognize that every gift matters.”
In this phase, the advancement team will solicit the participation of all alumni for campaign gifts. The core message of the campaign—that with alumni support, “UB can compete for talent in the national marketplace, move at an optimal time to capture opportunities, initiate innovative projects and programs and continue to be entrepreneurial”—remains a key part of the expanded solicitations. Bringing this message to the entire alumni base will also help inform graduates about what a larger endowment can do for the University—their University of Baltimore.
“Alumni gifts in any amount really do add up,” Silanskis says. “They add to the endowment, of course, but they also help us to leverage things that otherwise we might not be able to do. Whether it’s hiring a first-rate professor with great teaching skills or bringing in that student who has great potential but is in need of assistance financially, we can say ‘yes’ instead of ‘maybe someday.’ That’s how every contribution helps.”
UB’s alumni and friends acknowledge that the reputation of the campus is on the rise. When they come back to UB, they are pleasantly surprised by how much it has grown and improved. Now, as Uniquely UB enters the home stretch, there’s a chance to turn that acknowledgment into a value proposition and to enhance alumni participation in a campaign that raised the bar for the campus in a number of ways:
- a major increase in the number of donors giving up to $1,000
- a record-setting gift of $10 million, part of a state-mandated private effort to raise $15 million for the new John and Frances Angelos Law Center
- the successful completion of a matching-gift solicitation prompted by the aforementioned law school gift.
These campaign newsmakers, combined with the efforts of thousands of alumni, are all part of the “art of giving.” It’s an all-out effort that Silanskis calls “astounding.”
“Let’s keep going,” she urges her fellow alumni. “Every gift means a lot to our University.”