News

Westfield State University Fundraising Totals Surpass $3 Million

FY18 REPRESENTS UNIVERSITY’S MOST SUCCESSFUL PHILANTHROPIC YEAR; MOST MONEY RAISED TO DATE

Westfield, MA –  The Westfield State Foundation, the philanthropic partner of Westfield State University, closed its Fiscal Year 2018 on Saturday, June 30 with a total of more than $3 million worth of gifts and pledges received. This year’s fundraising total represents more than triple the amount of FY16 fundraising totals and exceeds FY17 by more than $1 million.

“We are beginning to feel the effects of a philanthropic sea change at Westfield State University,” said Westfield State University President Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha. “Hats off to the leadership of Westfield State’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Westfield State Foundation Dr. Erica Broman, her team in the Division of Institutional Advancement, and a concerted, university-wide effort, we are effectively sharing the success stories associated with our University in a way that inspires our constituents to offer gifts to further advance the mission of Westfield State.”

Dr. Torrecilha explained that this level of fundraising would not be possible without the work of the Westfield State Foundation and the leadership of the Westfield State Alumni Association.

Since joining Westfield State University as its 20th president in 2016, Dr. Torrecilha has consistently conveyed his goal of developing a culture of renewed philanthropy. During this period, gifts to the institution have continued to increase. In FY15, the Foundation realized gifts totaling nearly $691,000; in FY16, it raised nearly $900,000; and in FY17 it raised $1.8 million.

Although her and her team’s strategies are beginning to pay measurable dividends, Dr. Broman explains that FY18 also brought some serendipity with a significant bequest and a portion of a $1.1 million anonymous gift happening to fall within the same fiscal year. “These are philanthropic events you can’t budget for, but we are seeing much higher re-engagement with alumni donors who either have not given in the past few years, or have done so at lower levels,” said Dr. Broman, who explained that Westfield State’s $3 million fundraising level elevates the University to a more level playing field with institutions of its kind.

Dr. Broman explained that not only have corporations and friends of the University increased their support over the last year, but staff, parents, current students and alumni have responded favorably to innovative annual outreach campaigns launched over the last two semesters. One such campaign, “Owls around the World” drew the attention, interest and participation of 250 young alumni. “That campaign in particular really helped us as an institution to further connect and engage our energetic and loyal alumni, who are eager to stay connected with their alma mater and their former classmates.” Dr. Broman explained that as affinity and engagement increase with such campaigns, fundraising results will follow suit—sometimes not always in dollar amount, but certainly in participation percentages.

Fundraising milestones in FY18 included:

  • In March 2018, the university surpassed its third annual #GiveAHoot Day of Giving goal of $40,000 and engaged nearly 400 donors.
  • The Institutional Advancement team has increased visits outside of Massachusetts to connect with the large number of alumni in California, Florida, Connecticut, New York and North Carolina among other states.
  • The Institutional Advancement calling program has moved back to campus utilizing Westfield students. This results in excellent training, helps the university continue to build stronger alumni relationships and has increased the number of mentorships for students.
  • Increased collaboration with academic programs and other divisions on campus has resulted in the establishment of the University’s first ever “virtual endowment.”

“These results are fantastic for Westfield State. The foundation’s unified approach with President Torrecilha and Dr. Broman is certainly making a difference. Rather than giving us cause to rest on our laurels, this newfound benchmark provides motivation for our continued strategy moving forward,” said Westfield State Foundation Board of Directors Chair James M. Leahy.

“We aim to continue building upon this foundation of giving, engaging our friends, corporations, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees by sharing stories of student and alumni success and inspiring their support of the University and each student’s pursuit of a transformative education and experience,” said Dr. Torrecilha.