The Light of Learning

The President’s Column

Fund Raising is a Team Effort

The President’s Column

Portrait of President Jo Allen In the uncertainty about what a college president actually does, perhaps the least understood aspect is the role of the fundraiser, best characterized by the frequent question, “How much money have you raised as president?”

On the surface, the question makes sense, but it belies the reality that – even as we celebrate our 24-hour Day of Giving’s $1.16 million raised this year – fund raising is a year-round team effort led by Institutional Advancement professionals. But those of you who made or met donor challenges, served as class gift agents, or encouraged friends to join you in making a gift are also part of the team.

In fact, you might be surprised to know who else is on the team. Our athletic coaches and athletic director, for instance, work with our advancement team to identify outstanding needs and dedicated parents and alumnae athletes whose passions for sports spur their investment in facilities, team training, conditioning, playing equipment, and more.

Our faculty and staff build relationships with students and alumnae whose connections to the College help channel their interests into all sizes of gifts that make a difference. 


From campus locales that had a special meaning for them (e.g., the lake, theatre, a dance studio, the chapel) to programs that shaped them for life (Undergraduate Research, Honors, Study Abroad) to particular roles they value (the chaplain, the director of Wings, the coordinator of diversity, equity and inclusion), donors have credited their relationships and inspirations as central to realizing how they could invest in the College.

Our students and alumnae are equally engaged in helping shape priorities and investments in the College. One alumna’s gift, for instance, has led to the initiative to shape the message about healthcare programming and resources at Meredith – all grounded in her and her family’s long-standing work in the healthcare industry. Other alumnae have realized the unseen needs of the campus, investing in electric grids, fire code upgrades, elevators, HVAC systems, roof repairs, and more.

Our Admissions team offers insights on why students select Meredith, showing us which programs, amenities, or qualities to highlight and, alternately, whether we should invest in a new concept, facility, or resource to attract more students.

In short, fund raising is a collaborative response to College needs, and it is hardly transactional. The relationships demonstrate that whether for scholarships, programs, facilities, or other needs, all play a critical role in helping Meredith continue Going Strong. 

In that sense, we are all fundraisers.

President Jo Allen, ’80