Initiative donations dawdle

With major Campaign projects stalled, department searches for lead donor

The lot at Union and Division Streets has lied empty since Jock Harty Arena
Image by: Sam Koebrich
The lot at Union and Division Streets has lied empty since Jock Harty Arena

Athletics and Recreation isn’t worried that they’re still far from their goal for the University’s most recent fundraising campaign.

Queen’s began the Initiative Campaign in 2006 with an overall goal of raising $500 million for the University, spread out over 12 priorities. The Athletics department is looking to raise $32 million before the end of the Campaign in 2016.

When donors give to the Campaign, they choose which priority their gift goes to.

So far, the overall Campaign has received 72 per cent of its goal. Athletics, on the other hand, has raised less than a quarter of their financial objective, which is the lowest among all areas.

Though the numbers may look bad, the department doesn’t see a cause for concern just yet.

Meg Einarson, senior development officer at the Office of Advancement, said one of the major reasons Athletics is behind is that they can’t move forward yet on their major plans: a multi-purpose field house and extra turf fields on West Campus.

“Those are the two major capital projects that we have that have not been funded,” she said, adding that other priorities, such as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business, have already seen their major projects kickstarted.

Full funding must be in place to begin the next phase of development, according to University rules. Until a lead donor can be found, the department must wait before starting on their goals.

“Once that has actually been done, that’s where you’ll see a number of other donors who want to be involved in the [project] at various different giving levels,” Einarson said.

If Athletics fails to meet their financial goal, the department plans to keep their current priorities as an important part of their fundraising efforts.

“I’m hoping we don’t have to talk about that [possibility],” Einarson said. “Realistically, these are funding priorities that are necessary for Athletics and Recreation.

“Even if we weren’t able to reach our goals, there’s still going to be room for improvement after the Campaign as well.”

Associate Director of Athletics, Business Development and Facilities Jeff Downie said Athletics is optimistic they’ll be able to reach their goal, especially with recent changes made in the department.

One factor that slowed the rate at which Athletics received donations was a lack of focus on reaching out to alumni. Downie said Athletics didn’t have any alumni advancement staff until last year.

“It’s been one of our internal, departmental strategies and strategic priorities to place alumni and our relationships with them at the forefront,” he said.

According to Downie, the removal of the lower bleachers at Richardson Stadium could be another positive move for Athletics, since the stadium’s revitalization is a major goal for the department.

“It’s bringing more attention to the issues that we have,” he said. “Is that going to encourage people to get involved? I hope so.”

With many of the department’s goals being long-term, Downie said that a better understanding of the Campaign’s outcome will be had in 2016.

“I don’t think anyone is too concerned about where we’re at in comparison to other faculties, because there’s different projects at different points in the process.”


Initiative Campaign, Jeff Downie, Meg Einarson, Queen's Athletics

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