An Interview with Andy Rieth '80, National Annual Giving Chair, about The Fund for DePauw
In a candid interview, Andy Rieth ’80, vice president for investor relations at Hill-Rom Industries and National Annual Giving Chair, discusses the essential role that annual giving, The Fund for DePauw and alumni support play in allowing the University to address its most pressing campus-wide needs.
FOCUS: WHAT IS THE FUND FOR DEPAUW?
Andy Rieth: We have a longstanding annual giving program at DePauw that was, until fall of 2014, called the Annual Fund. That fund has recently been rebranded and repurposed as The Fund for DePauw.
WHY WAS THE NAME CHANGED?
Calling the annual fund The Fund for DePauw makes clear that DePauw’s signature annual giving program is about strengthening the core mission of the University. It really is for DePauw – for the academic mission, the faculty, the student experience. Annual giving through The Fund for DePauw ensures that the student experience is the best it can be, academically and socially, and it ensures positive career outcomes for the students who invest in DePauw and in whom DePauw invests. It touches every corner of campus and every facet of the DePauw experience. Now the name of the fund conveys its importance to the University.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FUND FOR DEPAUW AND THE CURRENT COMPREHENSIVE CAMPAIGN, WHICH IS CALLED THE CAMPAIGN FOR DEPAUW? ARE THEY THE SAME THING?
(Laughs) The Fund for DePauw is? both different from The Campaign for DePauw and also part of the campaign. The Campaign for DePauw has finite goals, and it will end when those goals are reached. The Fund for DePauw is an annual effort, and it will continue long after the campaign is over.
IF I AM A DONOR WHO WANTS TO HELP THE UNIVERSITY MEET ITS CAMPAIGN GOALS, SHOULD I GIVE TO THE CAMPAIGN OR TO THE FUND FOR DEPAUW?
The most direct way that most donors? will contribute to the campaign is by contributing to The Fund for DePauw. Alumni who want to give back to DePauw financially should know that during the campaign, gifts to The Fund are essentially campaign gifts. While a young alumna or alumnus who is just getting started on a career path may not be ready to make a major gift to the campaign, many alumni giving small gifts to The Fund for DePauw can have as great an impact.
SO THE FUND FOR DEPAUW IS A GOOD WAY FOR ALUMNI TO GIVE BACK TO DEPAUW.
Giving is one of many ways in which alumni can engage with DePauw. Others are mentoring, participating in ongoing educational programs, and returning to campus for Alumni Reunion Weekend or Old Gold. We really hope for it to be a two-way street so that these very alumni who have benefited from DePauw can continue to benefit DePauw and give back to the University through their engagement financially and otherwise.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN GOALS AS NATIONAL ANNUAL GIVING CHAIR?
I am particularly interested in a broad range and level of participation. If we look at our recent history of participation, it’s been below 30 percent. We think we can do better. We actually have done better historically. As at many colleges across the country, those numbers have come down in recent years. We think, as part of this overall engagement effort, that building the participation level will certainly benefit us over time financially. More importantly, we will expand the connection we have to our alumni and that alumni feel toward the University.
PARTICIPATION LEVELS ARE UNDOUBTEDLY AN INDICATOR OF THE VALUE GRADUATES PLACE IN THEIR EXPERIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THE PERCENTAGE OF ALUMNI WHO PARTICIPATE IS A METRIC THAT A FOUNDATION MIGHT LOOK AT TO EVALUATE, SAY, A GRANT PROPOSAL. DOES DEPAUW ENCOURAGE CURRENT STUDENTS TO GIVE BACK ONCE THEY GRADUATE?
I’m thrilled with some of the work that’s being done to encourage students, even while they’re at DePauw, to understand the importance of giving back financially to the University on a regular basis. The fact is, any of us who have ever attended DePauw of any generation have benefited in some fashion because of those who have come before us and who have felt the commitment to donate to the school at some level.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE THAT DEPAUW WANTS TO SEND TO POTENTIAL ALUMNI DONORS – ALUMNI WHO COULD POSSIBLY GIVE BACK YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT?
This notion of securing that same opportunity or making that opportunity available for a future generation is something that we really want to encourage alumni from DePauw to embrace, even from a very early point?in their DePauw career. We believe, obviously, that if that habit is established early on, then it will continue. As folks go about their lives and their careers and become more secure financially, then, perhaps, their giving will increase. In terms of The Fund for DePauw, participation is by far and away the most important thing that I have in mind as the chair of this effort.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR GIVING BACK TO DEPAUW IN THE WAYS THAT YOU DO?
I meet with students and also do extensive recruiting for my company at DePauw and try to stay engaged in a variety of ways. The most gratifying thing from my viewpoint is the quality, caliber, incredible amounts of experience, and certainly the youthful enthusiasm that students display. I never cease to be impressed – really, almost humbled – by what some of these students have accomplished and what they can accomplish. All of that is made possible in some way or another through the gifts of alumni and friends. Alumni support helps make a DePauw education accessible for students who might not otherwise be able to afford DePauw. Gifts provide the resources that support student experiences abroad. And for most of our alumni, the most direct way to give back, and support DePauw’s vision, is through The Fund for DePauw.
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