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October 19, 2020

Chestnut Hill College

BACKGROUND

Chestnut Hill College was founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph as a liberal arts college located at the northwestern edge of Philadelphia. The College has served over 15,000 graduates and for the fourth consecutive year, has earned a national distinction as a high-quality, hands-on learning environment with a vibrant and welcoming community.

In December of 2019, Changing Our World engaged with Chestnut Hill College to conduct a campaign to raise funds for the College’s endowment which consisted at that time of $11.5 Million, more than 80 percent of which was dedicated to endowed scholarships. The focus of the campaign was to raise unrestricted endowment funds in order to provide for the College’s future and to create a new income stream for continuous College improvements.

 

CHALLENGE

Changing Our World began the engagement with a quiet planning phase and a deep dive on data analytics which uncovered a significant and untapped pool of major donor (prospects), many of whom were living within a two hour radius of the College.  When the COVID-19 quarantine began, the College had already secured more than $2 Million in major gift pledges towards the campaign and the campaign co-chairs remained optimistic on the community’s response to the case for support. Switching gears during quarantine, the College’s leadership began a series of donor wellness checks via phone and Zoom with a small number of solicitations on a case by case basis with board members and transformational gift prospects. Over the course of the summer, the College received a total of four seven-figure gifts towards the campaign, raising the total committed to $6.4 million as of September 2020.

In August, College leadership remained focused on the need for more communication to set the stage for the fall. Changing Our World partnered with CHC to conduct eight virtual gatherings (six of these gatherings with small groups of leadership level donors) that provided an update on the state of the College and an education on the endowment.  Conversations featured the President, Board Chair, and Chief Academic Officer and were facilitated by the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. The gatherings were augmented by an attractive periodical that was produced by the Office for Institutional Advancement featuring new programming initiatives for the College. This outreach was well-received and additional pledges have been committed since the gatherings concluded. More are currently being scheduled.

SOLUTION

The game changers that continue to remain in play at Chestnut Hill College include a thorough evaluation and continued research on the data, weekly coaching and strategic planning, strong leadership at all levels of the College and the willingness to remain steadfast, resulting in consistent, meaningful progress throughout this campaign.

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