Light The World Campaign Hits $1 Billion
Largest Jesuit Fundraising Campaign Now 2/3 Complete
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 16:01
Stokes Hall, the Cadigan Alumni Center, and the naming of Stokes and Maloney Halls were also partially funded by gifts made to the Light the World campaign, as were smaller spaces and renovations in Conte Forum and labs in Higgins Hall.
Raising money is not, however, the only goal for this campaign. Organizers considered increasing volunteer involvement just as important to the University’s development.
“We felt very strongly that the campaign needed to be about something that was broader than the contributed dollar amount,” Husson said. “When we thought about the campaign, we really thought of it as an engagement effort in full.”
BC’s volunteers lead local chapters and plan engagement events for alumni in their areas, help organize reunions, solicit classmates and potential donors for gifts, and provide advice to the University while serving on the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board.
Ensuring that volunteers have a meaningful experience while donating their time is especially important.
“If they really find some meaning in the volunteering that they’re doing, they’re going to repeat it over and over, and that’s how they’re going to help us,” Lockerby said. “One of the litmus tests we have is, could a volunteer answer a question about Boston College without any professional staff in the room? ... Can they talk about BC as well as the people who are here on campus every day? That’s critical to us.”
Because the campaign was launched in 2008, when the recession was at its worst, Lockerby said that organizers were surprised at the enthusiasm that alumni demonstrated.
“Things were slower than we would have otherwise projected for the first three or four years, but they didn’t stop,” he said. “That was a real testament to some alumni and some parents who recognized that, even in the face of some economic challenges, they still had the means, and they felt an even greater responsibility to make an investment in BC at that point … We wouldn’t necessarily have predicted that we would have had such great news so often in those times, but we did.”
Husson said that the fact that they had raised more than one-third of the $1.5 billion before officially launching Light the World also helped it survive during the recession. Called “quiet fundraising,” this method is traditional of most fundraising campaigns because it allows the organizers to see if their projected goals are feasible.
While reaching the $1 billion mark during BC’s sesquicentennial year is significant, Husson said that the campaign was intentionally designed to end after 2013. This was partly due to how long the committee estimated it would take to raise the money, but also to preserve the integrity of this year’s celebration.
“There are so many other things that are part of the sesquicentennial celebration,” Husson said. “We’ve just crossed the $1 billion point at the 150th celebration timeframe, but now we can move on to complete the campaign in the time after the sesquicentennial celebration has been completed.”