Connecting the dots in a maze of relationships to develop partnerships and collaborations that build capacity and sustain support for the College is at the core of recent successes for the Division of Institutional Advancement (IA).
The division's successes "on behalf of the College have required bringing key people to the table," says Carrie Besnette Hauser, IA vice president and executive director of the Metro State Foundation. "Relationships are key to success in any endeavor, but particularly when you rely on them for future growth and validating what you do. Strategic relationships will be even more important as we put in place a long-range plan to attract and sustain external support for our major initiatives."
Moving forward, the division is building on the recent successes of its five arms, including the Alumni Relations/Alumni Associations Plain & Fancy Ball, the Office of College Communications legislative relations efforts, its continuation of building the College's brand, and its coordination of major events, including the inaugural year of Metro State Executive Updates, as well as fundraising and capacity-building efforts by both the Office of Development and the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs. Meanwhile, the foundation continues to improve its service to internal constituents and external donors, and has grown and diversified its board to 30 active members during Besnette Hauser's tenure.
Below are just a few examples of how the IA team is helping the College to move forward:
Introducing new revenue models in a down economy
Under Besnette Hauser's leadership, the College, through its foundation, has secured a lead gift and coordinated the purchase of a permanent space in the Santa Fe Art District for the Center for Visual Art --the first building ever owned by Metro State (through the foundation), and made significant progress heading into the impending groundbreaking for the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC). Both represent future revenue models for the College, with proceeds designed to sustain academic programs and scholarships.
"Raising donations and in-kind gifts in support of the HLC will be one of our top priorities in the coming two years. The final product will be a very visible and real symbol of Metro State's commitment to creative public private-partnerships and fueling the workforce pipeline for a key industry in our state,"she says.
To date, "the process has been a thrilling time in our department and for Metro State," says Associate Chair and Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management Chad Gruhl. "It has been great working closely with the IA team and Sage Hospitality. We meet quite often and just continue to be incredibly productive."
Besnette Hauser adds "Working with an industry leader like Walter Isenberg (president and CEO of Sage Hospitality) on this initiative gives it even more credibility and 'buzz' in the community."
Community Cabinet keeps Metro State in the know
President Jordan's Community Cabinet, conceived of by Besnette Hauser shortly after she joined the College in 2007, is set to make a state-wide impact this month.
According to Besnette Hauser, the high-level "sounding board" made up of a diverse group of thought leaders, serves to keep the College "on course"with new trends and up to speed on key issues or opportunities where the College can be of service.
During one of the meetings last year, one of the members introduced CEOs for Cities and the concept of the Talent Dividend, which calculates the economic return ($1.8B for metro Denver) of a 1 percentage point increase in college degree attainment for major urban centers in the U.S. As a result, Denver became one of the stops on the 50-city Talent Dividend Tour. Nearly 50 of Denver's top business leaders and employers attended an on-campus meeting hosted by Metro State, the Piton Foundation, the mayor's office, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Denver Partnership.
By hosting the Talent Dividend meeting, "Metro State served as an incubator for a larger effort which has been adopted by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and will dovetail an effort Gov. Bill Ritter will be announcing for the state as he prepares to leave office and position the issue as a top priority for the state's next administration."
Building the team on the way to preeminence
In the last year, the division has filled the following vacant or stimulus-funded positions: assistant director of media relations, campaign director, grant writer for development, grant writer for OSRP, alumni engagement coordinator, special events manager, foundation finance director, full-time researcher, executive director of alumni relations and director of advancement services.
Efforts to re-establish global efforts results in chance encounter
Always looking for opportunities to match people with their passions, Besnette Hauser introduced the leaders of the Cunningham Foundation to Ali Thobhani, then interim executive director of the College's Office of International Studies. The topic: Ethiopia. Three delegation trips later, the program was awarded a grant to support the College's partnership with Ethiopia, particularly Axum University. But a chance encounter on the first trip will result in a new school in Adowa, Ethiopia.
Just last month, International Studies held a fundraising dinner at Strings Restaurant, and brought in $25,000 to build the school through a partnership with Denver Sister Cities. The Western Union Foundation was a key supporter of the dinner and helped Metro State faculty members reach their fundraising goal and have a very real impact on students and teachers in Ethiopia.
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