When I arrived at Dillard in 2012, our alumni giving level was less than 4% and about $250K was raised. This presented a great opportunity to engage our alumni base and then others, to more robustly support Dillard. By June of 2016, we had reached a 15% alumni giving rate (which is almost double the HBCU average), with $1.7 million raised (thanks in part by a huge $1M gift from an alumnus).
Our alumni base has really been engaged. All across the nation alums are stepping up to support the university, and challenging their friends, classmates, frat brothers and sorors to truly give back to Dillard. I think we all have taken great pride in watching these numbers increase, numbers which are now influencing various ratings of colleges.
This fall we shocked ourselves. This was just our second year attempting to participate in Giving Tuesday. We really had no idea what was possible, so we set out to raise $30K, which was a pretty significant jump from $12K raised last year.
We hit that target pretty quickly so we had to get creative and come up with a new goal. So we said $50K, and ended up with almost $63K. In fact, the Network for Good rated us #1 for Best Social Media Campaign.
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We have to keep working to raise money for our students. Dillard has many capable and deserving students, but they need financial assistance. 35% of the nation’s college students qualify for the federal Pell grant (meaning they come from families where the household income is roughly $40,000 or less). Each year at Dillard between 75–80% of our students qualify for the Pell grant.
So the support of our alumni and friends is greatly appreciated. As we enter 2017 we’re excited about the possibilities at Dillard for our students as we continue to equip them to be a force in their communities and the world.
It is easy to support Dillard students. All the guests that visit always leave inspired and encouraged by meeting them. Make that one of your New Year’s resolutions- a visit to Dillard University.