The development office of Antioch College has two weeks to raise an additional $8 million that will be readily available by June 2008, in order to convince trustees to lift the suspension of operations at the school that is scheduled for the end of the academic year. This is the benchmark established during a closed meeting held in Denver last week between members of the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board, said Director of Institutional Advancement Risa Grimes on Wednesday.
“It’s now or never,” Grimes stressed from her new office in the recently reopened Weston Hall on the college campus. According to Grimes, the alumni initiative, thus far, has raised 12 million dollars in cash and pledges, of which $4 million are expected to be liquefiable by the end of the current academic year. This currently leaves the college around $8 million short of achieving the benchmark of $12 million in funds that will become immediately available for spending at the end of the current academic year in June 2008.
By the end of this week, Grimes, along with AI staff member Wendy Ernst, Alumni Board member Ina Frank ‘60 and alumnus Matthew Derr ‘89, will be traveling throughout the country on a fundraising offensive to secure “major gifts” before the Board of Trustees meeting on October 25. Grimes plans to visit donors with a “strong special interest in Antioch.”
While on the road, the fundraising team will show prospective donors the business plan that has been drafted by the Alumni Board to illustrate the feasibility of continued operations of Antioch College.
Grimes stated that the Development Office would like to raise the overall goal 82 million dollars in addition to the twelve million requested by the Board of Trustees. Grimes hopes that this will prevent the closure of the 155-year-old school and create a financially stable, functionally autonomous college with a separate Board of Trustees for the college. Whether this separate board will work within the larger system of Antioch University or a fully independent college is likely to be affected by the possible complications of continued accreditation for both institutions.
The start of a full-fledged fundraising campaign follows the move of the Office of Institutional Advancement from the Sontag Fels Building to Weston Hall. The highly anticipated event caused Grimes to exclaim, “Now we feel like we are a part of campus!” The move was described as “hectic,” but Grimes noted that a fundraising plan was able to develop despite the stress of relocation. The relocation of the office is expected to simplify the communication between the campus and alumni by creating a more direct link to the college community.
In addition to one-on-one fundraising, the Development Office is reaching out to a larger network of alumni by coordinating a weekly electronic newsletter that reaches 5,000 Antiochians. “I think it’s a full-time job to put out and respond to the newsletter,” said Aimee Maruyama, Director of Alumni Relations, this week. The newsletter, she noted, has been quite successful in garnering strong alumni responses and monetary support, needed to influence the Board of Trustees in advance of their October 25th-27th meeting in Yellow Springs.
If the Trustees decide to lift the suspension, the Revival Fund will continue as the Fund for the Future (FFF), to mark the opening of a new chapter in the history of Antioch College.