Q&A: Funding the advancement of James Madison University
Q: JMU is a successful university. Why do we need extra funds?
A: JMU is a successful university, one of the most popular among prospective high school students in Virginia. We have more than 20,000 students, approximately 3,300 faculty and staff members, and nearly 120,000 alumni. The funding of higher education has changed forever. Gone are the days when states and taxpayers provided all of an institution’s resources. Across higher education, tuition has been rising to keep pace with costs. Those increases have been keeping some deserving students out of college or burdening them with increasingly high levels of debt. JMU must seek ways to diversify and increase other sources of revenues, including private fundraising. JMU must also increase the size of the endowment so we have the resources to continue to make our curriculum one of the most innovative and distinct in the country. That’s especially important as we seek to become the national model of the engaged university.
Q: How will you generate the extra funds?
A: As of July 1, 2014, JMU invests a percentage of qualifying gifts into expanding efforts to further grow the private dollars necessary to sustain and enhance the Madison Experience.
Q: How will that work?
A: On the “Why Madison?” Listening Tour, the president heard that alumni want to be more engaged in the life of JMU. We are using this gift reinvestment to expand our reach to inform and engage more alumni and inspire them to invest in the future of James Madison University.
Q: What will JMU do with the additional funds from the gift reinvestment?
A: Our goal is to significantly increase the number of donors to JMU during the next eight years and to increase gift income from about $12 million per year to more than $20 million per year. All revenue generated from this gift reinvestment will be dedicated to programs that better inform, engage and inspire our constituents to financially support the university and improve the Madison Experience.
Q: Will the gift reinvestment generate all of the needed revenue?
A: Initially the gift reinvestment will generate some of what we will need to realize the potential of our fundraising and outreach operations. As these efforts reach more alumni and friends, we will be able to invest more in University Advancement efforts at the same time we are building our endowment.
Q: What do other universities do?
A: Many universities across the country use this approach or something similar to fund their advancement efforts. For instance, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Rutgers, UConn, University of Florida and UCLA, to name a few, have successfully, and for some time, implemented similar approaches.