Peace prepares for drive

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Peace College in Raleigh, in the midst of two mini-campaigns of $2 million each to support campus expansion, has named a chief fundraiser and is gearing up for an endowment drive that could total $30 million or more.

Sandy Scarlett, director of planning and development at the Duke University Eye Center, has joined Peace as vice president for external relations and chief development officer.

“Sandy’s largest responsibility coming in will be major-gifts strategies that undergird the capital expansion and anticipated endowment campaign,” says Laura Carpenter Bingham, Peace’s president.

Since its trustees voted in 1995 to convert the school to a four-year baccalaureate program from a two-year junior college, Peace has doubled its full-time faculty to 41 and its annual budget to $13 million, boosted its enrollment to 650 students from 425, and launched plans to expand its campus to 19 acres from 15.

The school opened a new $4.5 million academic building in 2000 financed with private funds, and then launched the two mini-campaigns to finance renovation of dorm rooms and conversion of a classroom building into science labs.

Peace, which aims to grow to 850 students and 60 faculty members by 2007, its 150th anniversary, expects to invest at least $5 million in campus expansion.

That expansion includes renovations underway plus purchase of the former Hardee’s and Newton’s restaurant sites and part of the former Halifax Court public housing complex.

To support expansion of its academic program, student body and faculty, the school in 2000 projected it would need to roughly double its $40 million endowment, which has declined to $36 million in the slumping stock market.

The goal is to build the endowment to at least six times the school’s operating budget, Bingham says.

She hopes by 2007 to increase the annual fund to $1 million from $600,000 now, in part by doubling to 300 the number of donors giving $1,000 or more, and increasing to 45 percent from 32 percent the share of alumnae contributing to the school.

With just under 9,000 living alumnae, says Bingham, “there are fewer of us to do the job, so we want to be much more effective with our messages for annual fund fundraising.”

The school also is considering borrowing $4 million to $7 million now for campus expansion to take advantage of favorable lending rates.

Peace next year will test the feasibility of a capital campaign and decide whether it should be a comprehensive effort or be divvied up into smaller drives.

To solicit planned gifts, the school has formed a committee headed by four co-chairs, including Karl Hudson Jr. of Raleigh.

The dorm-renovation campaign has received a $1 million challenge grant from the A.E. Finley Foundation in Raleigh that the school has two years to match, dollar for dollar. The science-lab renovation project has received $150,000 from the Cannon Foundation in Concord.

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