As part of its overall efforts, a DEI Development Community Taskforce has developed fundraising recommendations aimed at engaging diverse audiences. In addition, a Fund for a Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive U-M was established by the Office of University Development (OUD) to solicit unrestricted gifts for DEI initiatives.
In collaboration with Chief Development Officers in every school, college, and unit, OUD’s Integrated Data Services (IDS) Team generated a DEI fundraising report. According to this report, the University of Michigan raised $13,811,767 for DEI initiatives from 14,440 unique donors in FY20. In Year Five, our efforts will continue to evolve as we address the challenges of reporting on DEI fundraising, which include identifying what constitutes a DEI fund and determining whether those definitions will change as the societal landscape shifts over time.
Notable achievements for Year Four include the following:
- In September 2019, Vice Provost Robert Sellers launched U-M’s first external DEI Leadership Council. The council is composed of volunteers who have donated to both campuswide DEI initiatives and the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM), supporting programs that range from the Spectrum Center to first-generation scholarships to the (external) AAUM LEAD Scholars program. These volunteer-donors are passionate about introducing potential supporters to DEI causes at U-M or that benefit members of the U-M community and will provide Dr. Sellers with valuable counsel on the real-world implications of our DEI initiatives.
- In June 2020, Marshell Willian (Chicago LSA ’84) endowed a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund at U-M following a recently-announced challenge from Dr. Scott Hagen (President of North Central University). This need-based scholarship will be awarded annually with a preference for students who have participated in Wolverine Pathways and have demonstrated a commitment to bettering their communities.
In Year Four, we also made financial and organizational investments in diversifying our donor pool and volunteer base, focusing first on improving racial, gender, and age diversity. In December 2019, more than 150 frontline fundraisers participated in a two-part feedback and prioritization exercise around new areas of major gift opportunity for U-M’s next campaign. Approximately 40 major gift officers from OUD and across campus volunteered to assess our engagement of NextGen and Women donors. We are also collaborating with alumna Brandi Hudson to launch the African American Giving Initiative. In FY21, we plan to test and identify new and non-traditional approaches to fundraising practices that are more appealing to underrepresented and under-engaged populations, such as giving circles and collective giving through affinity-based networks.