Gifts to the Norwich Fund offer the extra benefit of flexibility
BY BETH LUBERECKI
NORWICH RECORD | Spring 2022
No matter what kind of plans you make, there’s always the chance that something unexpected pops up. The last two years have been a perfect example of that, and traits like flexibility and agility have been crucial for every organization trying to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic.
Norwich is no exception. As the pandemic forced the university to change the way it taught, the way it operated, and even the way it fed students, there were unexpected financial costs attached to every necessary pivot. During the last fiscal year, for example, the estimated cost of COVID testing and prevention on campus alone was about $1.7 million.
That’s why the ability to tap into a resource like the Norwich Fund is so crucial when new challenges arise. “If you don’t have the ability to have access to that kind of money to stay open, to pivot, and to be flexible, you can find yourself in a lot of trouble, and there were plenty of schools that did,” says Liz Kennedy ’01, vice president of development and alumni relations at Norwich.
As an unrestricted fund, the Norwich Fund provides the flexibility to address the university’s most urgent priorities. This can range from supporting core operations and strategic priorities to launching new clubs and activities. Even weather can deliver unexpected hurdles. If an extended cold snap sends heating costs soaring far beyond budget, the Norwich Fund can step in to make up the gap. Because there are no restrictions as to how the money can be used, the Norwich Fund allows the university to respond to needs or new opportunities as it best sees fit.
That flexibility is why the Norwich Fund is the top priority in the university’s current Shoulder-to-Shoulder fundraising initiative. The goal is to raise $9 million for the Norwich Fund by 2023. As of Jan. 1, the university had already passed the halfway mark, raising $4,602,546.
“The greatest need of any school is always unrestricted giving,” Kennedy says. “You can’t plan for everything that’s going to happen; you can’t budget for everything that’s going to happen.”
For 2022 fundraising efforts, especially those tied to Homecoming, the Norwich development office is encouraging alumni to give to a special initiative called the President’s Fund in honor of Dr. Mark Anarumo’s inauguration last fall as NU’s 24th president. Gifts made to the President’s Fund will support the Norwich Fund and help the university’s pool of unrestricted resources continue to grow. Ultimately, the President’s Fund celebrates a new era of leadership while also providing crucial resources that empower Norwich to stay ahead of the curve.
Kennedy says it sometimes takes a little work to show people the power and importance of unrestricted giving; some donors like to know exactly where their money is going and how it will be used. “It’s all about education, education, education,” she says. “We find that once people understand, they’re happy to help, and they do want to help in a way that’s meaningful.”
“Unrestricted giving makes sense, because you’re letting the experts decide where it goes,” says John Campbell ’72, who’s part of the fundraising committee for his 50-year reunion class for Homecoming 2022 and a longtime class agent. “The full-time staff at Norwich, the president and his cabinet, the Board of Trustees—they know where it would be best applied.”
That can include enhancements and additions to the Norwich student experience. Last year, a group of students approached the administration about starting a boxing club, pointing out that Norwich was the only senior military college without one. Having raised more than $2,000 on its own, the club received an additional $6,000 from the Norwich Fund. The gift allowed club organizers to purchase needed equipment to get the club off the ground.
Without help from the Norwich Fund, “it would have taken another year to get it up and running,” says Boxing Club President Gabriel Williams ’23. He says the Norwich Fund helps students like him realize their vision.
Today, the Norwich Fund is also helping a nascent effort to re-establish an NCAA rifle team at NU, along with a shooting club for students. Support from the Norwich Fund went toward the purchase of ammunition and rifles to get the program started.
“[The Fund] gave the university administration the flexibility to make a quick turn to start this program,” says shooting club coach Mike Hourigan ’85. “It allows the administration and [President Anarumo] to have that ability to act quickly with purpose to benefit not only the university as a whole but particularly the students.”
“A strong unrestricted fund is what takes a school from good to great,” Kennedy says. “Because it lets us say ‘yes’ instead of ‘we’ll have to see.’ It lets us say ‘I will try.’”
To learn more about supporting the President’s Fund and the Norwich Fund, visit alumni.norwich.edu/givenow.