College to launch new fundraising campaign

by Xakota Espinoza / Beacon Staff • September 27, 2012

Faculty tharp
Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Jeffrey Schoenherr addresses faculty.
Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Jeffrey Schoenherr addresses faculty.

Over the next two years, Emerson will develop plans to combine its fundraising projects through a comprehensive campaign aimed to revamp the college’s current strategies and increase philanthropic support. 

Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Jeffrey Schoenherr announced the initiative during the faculty assembly on Tuesday. He said all fundraising efforts will be connected to the five strategic goals that President M. Lee Pelton laid out in his inaugural address. 

“Emerson has never had a comprehensive fundraising campaign, so that means we’ve never sat down and discussed and put together goals and needs for the college,” said Schoenherr in an interview. “[The campaign] will mean we’re raising money for a number of different priorities. It will be something much larger than Emerson is used to.”

Schoenherr—who joined the college in May 2011—said that in past years, the college has held individual fundraising campaigns for seperate projects such as new buildings, but that this method will change with the launch of a new campaign. 

Schoenherr said that the department hopes to focus on large projects such as financial aid. According to Schoenherr, last year the college raised approximately $4.7 million, making it the second highest fundraising year since 1990. 

“A campaign with a nature that focuses on specific priorities will help to make [it] successful,” he said.

In addition to launching the new campaign, Schoenherr said the college is currently in the process of expanding the fundraising team, which presently includes the addition of a director of prospect management research and a planned giving director. 

According to Schoenherr, interviews for the planned giving director position have not yet commenced, however the new Director of Prospect Management, Gary Walling of Harvard Law School, will begin fill the position on Oct. 1.

 “Those were the two positions that I thought were missing that we needed to get us going in the planning stages,” said Schoenherr.

Walling’s role, Schoenherr said, is to help the college determine what alumni, friends, and parents should be approached for donations for various projects. 

“If we decide to raise a certain amount for student scholarships, Gary will help us figure out who would be the best people to talk to,” he said. 

Schoenherr said the planned giving director will work with donors who may be interested in leaving a bequest to the college in their will or assigning Emerson as the beneficiary of their investment. 

“There are a number of different vehicles people can use to give to charitable organizations outside of just giving a cash lift,” said Schoenherr. 

According to Schoenherr, the three major contributors to the college are alumni, parents of current and former students, and various foundations interested in specific projects the college undertakes. 

Schoenherr said raising money for the Los Angeles program will kick off the fundraising campaign, and from there the team will formulate other priorities based upon Pelton’s five-part strategic plan.