USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – February 2024

on February 5, 2024 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Welcome to February’s Fundraising Talks. Political and socio-economic issues around the world keep us on our toes as we monitor opportunities and challenges related to philanthropy. February marks the observance of Black History Month, a time for nonprofits to celebrate Black philanthropists and leaders who have a positive impact in our communities. Fundraising will benefit from including new strategies that diversify donor and prospect pools. Advancement services can also streamline the collection, storage, and usage of data to help with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Good data is a basic requirement for effective decision-making, which is essential to bring about positive change.

The State of Black Residents: The Relevance of Place to Racial Equity and Outcomes,” a report by the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility, serves as a good reference to understand the substantial gaps in economic, social, and physical well-being among Black residents and non-Black residents nationwide. McKinsey looked at more than 3,000 counties nationwide and sorted them into 13 distinct community profiles based on different parameters. These communities were grouped as megacities, urban periphery, high-growth hubs, stable rural counties, and more. For instance, megacities included areas such as San Francisco, New York City, and Washington DC. These “megacities” are areas that have “high GDP per capita but inequality and high costs of living.” The report states that 90 percent of Black residents live in seven of the thirteen community profiles, and “virtually nowhere in the nation are outcomes for Black residents on a par with those of their White neighbors.”

How can philanthropy in higher education assist in reducing these disparities and help achieve equity in communities? Colleges and universities can build diversity into staffing and volunteer leadership roles and establish fundraising initiatives that incorporate a diverse group of donors. Identifying donors and prospective donors that support philanthropic missions to advance diversity and inclusion is critical to reaching racial equity. Institutions can also create opportunities to engage with specific communities to improve gaps in areas such as housing and educational achievement. Examples of such programs referenced in the report are the “East Baltimore Development Initiative, Atlanta’s East Lake Foundation, and San Diego’s City Heights Initiative.” Educational institutions can partner with communities to provide quality early childhood education and help build a pipeline to assist disadvantaged kids in achieving further academic and professional success as they grow. Private philanthropy is a powerful tool to enhance quality of life for groups with various socio-economic statuses in our communities.

I hope you find the information in the McKinsey report beneficial in identifying areas to create strategic fundraising partnerships and build better communities around us. This month, cultivate and steward your donors with appreciation and engage them to create meaningful impacts at your respective institutions. As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments, or any assistance with fundraising research!

Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team
Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>

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