Meredith launching drive

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Meredith College in Raleigh on October 21 will kick off the public phase of a capital drive to raise $33.5 million.

Most of the funds from the drive, which has raised nearly $20 million in a “quiet” phase that began in 2001, will be used to increase the school’s $60 million endowment to $80 million, with the remainder to support operations and facilities.

“One of the major focuses of this campaign is to make the institution less dependent on tuition, and to give us the opportunity to focus more on the people of the institution,” says Maureen Hartford, the school’s president.

She says her personal goal is to increase the endowment to more than $100 million.

Most of the dollars raised in the drive likely will come from individuals, with planned and deferred gifts expected to account for 30 percent to 40 percent of the funds raised, says Connie Harris, vice president for institutional advancement.

“This campaign is really about engaging people who have not been engaged in changing the major gifts climate at this college,” Harris says.

With the minimum gift totaling $50,000, for example, a scholarship endowment effort among alumnae has raised more than $2.7 million.

The biggest gift to the drive is a deferred gift, totaling $2.5 million, that will come from the estate of Margaret Craig Martin, a retired Meredith professor, administrator and alumnae director for whom the school’s human environmental sciences and language building was renamed September 30.

The school’s annual fund, which is part of the capital drive, raised $664,000 in the fiscal year ended June 30, exceeding its goal by nearly $40,000, with nearly one in four of Meredith’s roughly 15,000 alumnae contributing.

This year, a $20,000 challenge grant from an anonymous alumna aims to spur annual giving by alumnae, and a $10,000 challenge grant from Denise and Allen Gant, CEO of Glen Raven in Burlington, aim to spur annual giving from parents.

And a $300,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich., generated $900,000 in additional gifts for the capital drive.

Meredith, with 2,200 students, including 900 living on campus and 170 graduate students, has been engaged in a building blitz financed with $31.5 million from a bond it issued in 2001.

The school has added 88,000 square feet of new space, renovated 116,000 more square feet and is renovating another 44,000 square feet this academic year.

Meredith, which raised $11 million in a capital drive in the 1990s, also is developing two new academic centers, one in science and mathematics, the other in the arts, that aim to engage girls and women in those professional fields.

Advising the school on the drive, which is scheduled to end June 30, 2007, is Carol O’Brien of Carol O’Brien Associates in Durham.

Chairing the drive are three Meredith alumnae and trustees – Jo Ellen Ammons, corporate secretary of Ammons Inc. in Raleigh; Yvette Brown, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Chambersburg, Pa.; and Michelle Rich, president of Rich Commercial Realty in Raleigh.

Speaking at the kickoff will be alumna Silda Wall Spitzer, president of the Children for Children Foundation in New York City, whose husband, Eliot Spitzer, is attorney general of New York State.

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