Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, CT -- The Office of Institutional Advancement at Eastern Connecticut State University has been named recipient of the 2009 CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) WealthEngine Award for Educational Fundraising. The award honors superior fundraising programs across the country and is a component of CASE's Circle of Excellence program, which honors exemplary advancement programs and activities. Eastern was selected to receive an Overall Improvement Award based on the judges' analysis of three years of fundraising data submitted to the council's annual survey.
"Your institution has not only demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and best practice in its fundraising efforts," wrote CASE President John Lippincott in a letter to Eastern President Elsa Núñez, "it has contributed to the betterment of educational advancement worldwide."
"It is very gratifying for the University to receive this award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education," said Eastern's President Elsa Núñez. "We are the smallest of the state universities in Connecticut. When you also consider that our CASE district includes Yale, Harvard, Williams, Wesleyan, the University of Connecticut, and many other fine private and public institutions, the work performed by our Office of Institutional Advancement to receive this award is even more significant. It is also an indication of the continued loyalty and generosity of our alumni and other donors."
"This award acknowledges the increased financial support that we have received in recent years from our alumni, friends and faculty, who have reacted positively to Eastern's evolving liberal arts mission," said Kenneth DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement. "Donors have responded to the University's exemplary academic programs, beautiful residential campus, and faculty and student success stories by generously sharing their resources on behalf of Eastern and our students.
"This past spring, even with difficult economic conditions, we were able to award more than $190,000 in scholarships to more than 220 deserving students with unmet needs," DeLisa continued. "It makes me proud to oversee Eastern's fundraising efforts when I see donors supporting our students with such unselfish philanthropy. We also have been able to raise the awareness of Eastern as the state's public liberal arts university due to the efforts of the Development, Alumni and University Relations departments, which have worked seamlessly to develop and deliver this message on a consistent basis to all constituents."
DeLisa cited ECSU Foundation, Inc., financial records that show the foundation's assets have increased by 75 percent over the past three fiscal years to more than $14 million. In addition, the University's Annual Fund has increased by 57 percent from FY2006 to FY 2009 to $2.3 million. One strategy in particular that has been highly successful, according to DeLisa, is the creation of endowed scholarships in the name of longtime Eastern faculty members, including recent retirees Mike Gable and Steve Kenton. Above is a picture of 223 recipients of 2009 ECSU Foundation, Inc. Competitive Scholarships totalling $190,000.