The largest and most comprehensive fundraising effort in the history of Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), the Make No Little Plans campaign, officially ended on June 30, 2022, exceeding the $50-million goal by over $11 million. The campaign officially began in 2015. It was publicly launched in September 2019 with a gala and concluded with a celebration on September 23, 2022 – both held at the EKU Center for the Arts.
President David T. McFaddin shared, “The Make No Little Plans campaign marks many firsts in our university’s history – the largest number of gift commitments, the largest gifts in institutional history, the most donors, the endowment growing to its largest balance at nearly $100 million, and we did it all when the world was enduring a global pandemic. The impact of this campaign will have a ripple effect across many generations of students seeking to brighten their futures through the opportunity of higher education.”
At the celebratory event, campaign chair and philanthropist Maribeth McBride Berman announced the campaign had secured more than $61 million in commitments, surpassing the $50-million goal. The campaign was built around three pillars: academic excellence, student success, and campus revitalization. It was supported by 27,699 donors, including 11,754 alumni and 11,964 new donors.
Donor-funded campus revitalization projects included the addition of the Noel Reading Porch to the EKU Library, an addition and major renovation of the Jack Ison Sports Performance Center, a fountain in the Carloftis Garden, the Turner Gate, a stained-glass window in the Powell Student Center, and the Corner Outdoor area near Powell.
As a result of campaign funding for academic excellence – enhancing the student experience through academic programs – several existing programs were strengthened. Funding was also provided to start new high-demand programs and centers including the Berman Center for Professional Sales, the Chellgren Center for Student Success, the Evans Banking and Financial Services Program, the Click Student Managed Investment Fund, and the Noel Faculty and Student Research Endowment.
“Student success, the third campaign pillar, is critically important to what we do. As an institution, our priority was and always will be our students who call Eastern ‘home,’” said McFaddin. “We want to ensure a clear path, void of financial distress, for all who choose to learn in our halls. Throughout the campaign, affordability and access to education was increased by adding over $20 million for endowed scholarships, with over 11,573 awards made to students.”
Throughout the campaign, faculty and staff giving increased by 209 percent, and record annual giving was fueled through Giving Day, which takes place in April each year. While most campaign fundraising ceased during the pandemic, alumni and friends were asked to contribute to the Student Assistance Fund for Eastern (SAFE), which provided aid to students who needed extra help during the pandemic and then again during the recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky.
At the campaign closing celebration, new members were inducted into the Ravine Society. The Ravine Society recognizes donors who have contributed cash gifts of $100,000 or more. Inductees included Rob and Amy Click, Gayle and Robert McCroskey, Jane Marie Violette Schlater, and Paul and Eva Vaughn.
The event was emceed by Bob Babbage, ’73 EKU graduate; grandson of Keen Johnson, for whom the iconic EKU building is named for; and former member of the EKU Board of Regents; among several other connections and contributions to the university.
Berman, who chaired the campaign in its entirety, was presented with EKU’s inaugural Philanthropist of the Year award for her countless volunteer hours and substantial gifts supporting several areas of the university.
“We gave our way into history, and though my time serving the campus in this capacity is coming to end, my time investing in this institution and in the students is only beginning,” said Berman. “I hope many of you will continue to find EKU to be a cause worthy of your investment, and together, we will continue to leave a legacy on this campus. Unwavering dedication and overwhelming generosity have helped us Make No Little Plans.”
Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement Betina Gardner added, “Our donors have transformed lives by expanding possibilities for our campus and university community. Donors have fortified and strengthened EKU which ensures our pledge to be a School of Opportunity. The momentum created by this support is palpable.”
For more information about the Make No Little Plans campaign or to make a gift to EKU, please visit campaign.eku.edu.