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VCU Libraries raises nearly $6 million for Make it Real Campaign

July 23, 2020

The university closed The Make it Real Campaign for VCU June 30, breaking fundraising records and exceeding its $750 million goal. As these funds mature over the years, they will provide endowed scholarships and other student support, endowed chairs and professorships, and endowed faculty support and research funds. 

VCU Libraries played its part in this historic fundraising effort launched in 2012 by raising over 95 percent of its $6 million campaign goal. The libraries also exceeded its fiscal year 2020 goal by raising more than $744,000 from 524 gifts -- up significantly from last year’s 479 gifts. 

Reflecting on the impact of this generosity, Interim Dean of the Libraries and University Librarian Teresa L. Knott said: “Our donors' gifts to VCU Libraries make it possible for us to achieve our goals and to better meet the needs of our user communities. This is especially important in these challenging times. Donor funds support ongoing programming (which has transitioned to virtual until it is safe to gather together again), enhance our physical spaces, and enable us to secure and process important collections.”

Gifts to VCU Libraries come in a variety of formats. While cash gifts can be put to work immediately, larger gifts often are made as pledges to be paid over a few years, planned gifts or even appraised gifts-in-kind that bolster collections. All are key to our success now and in the future. 

According to Development Director Kelly Gotschalk, “Historically, our largest gifts from individuals are planned gifts that are counted when they are documented. This aids in having donors indicate that you are in their estate plans and provides opportunity to make sure the gift will be used as they intend.”

Gifts to VCU Libraries are diverse and opportunities are plentiful to match donors’ interests with organizational needs and priorities. In FY20, examples of such gifts include:

  • This spring, art history Professor Emeritus Charles Brownell and his sister, Louise, made a gift to establish the Bess T. Brownell Fund in memory of their mother, Bess Trippe Brownell (1910-95) at VCU Libraries. The Brownell Fund supports the acquisition, stewardship and access of rare printed and hand-made publications and ephemera on architecture and the decorative arts by Special Collections and Archives at the James Branch Cabell Library of VCU Libraries. 
  • Elizabeth Roderick and John Kneebone are a couple with deep ties to VCU and libraries. Through a planned gift they have established the Elizabeth Roderick and John T. Kneebone Dean’s Fund. This endowed fund will be used to meet any needs at the dean’s discretion. 
  • Richmond artist Joan Gaustad made a gift to VCU Libraries to transform the wall leading to the James Branch Cabell Library Lecture Hall into an art wall complete with museum quality lighting. The gift honors her late husband, artist and School of the Arts faculty member Gerald Donato. Now known as “The Donato Wall”, the space is dedicated to the VCU students Donato so loved. More about this gift

In the current fiscal year, with the close of the campaign, the Development Office is setting new goals. One priority will be raising more funds for the Special Collections and Archives Endowment Fund. Another is to grow the size of the Friends of VCU Libraries Endowed Scholarship to offer more assistance to students. Another focus is on raising more unrestricted funds through the Friends of VCU Libraries to aid with needs in the COVID-19 era.

This fall, VCU will celebrate the conclusion of the Make It Real Campaign for VCU at multitiered virtual events for donors, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. Details will be announced soon.   

 

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