Sometimes on the way to making the ask of the usual suspects, someone comes out of nowhere with a donation to your college. As an interviewer for feasibility studies, I have been given contacts for people who would never step foot at your higher education facility but have been touched by a program or initiative that comes close to home.
‘You call my nephew who plays football for the NFL and tell him his aunt wants him to donate to the college’ or ‘this man wants the president to contact him privately for a donation’ or ‘I have never been asked – you have the Foundation office or the president make an appointment with me’. Through campaign counsel, RichGrossSolutions, Inc. makes every effort to assist your higher education institution uncover foundations, donors, grants and many other options to pursue. Every once in a while someone else comes along…
Case in point: a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education May 3, 2016 issue The Mark Cuban Effect: How a Vocal Billionaire is betting on Higher Ed’s Disruption talks about Mark’s courtside manner of looking at higher education taking a stand with his views on education and his investment in start-up companies focused on higher education. Though vocal on Wall Street level administrative salaries, glitzy facilities and student debt load, he does not claim to be an ‘expert’ in higher education. Mark has invested in companies in answer to some of the stressors of college life. High-priced textbooks – Mark’s investment in Packback which sells short-term rentals of digital textbooks was one solution he has supported. Low graduation rates – Mark’s investment in Copley Systems tracks students’ academic activities and keeps them on track to graduate. Mark has also been very vocal about student loans and debt incurred during the college experience.
So big deal, Mark Cuban gives money to some companies – he does it all the time on Shark Tank. What does matter is how his investments have impacted the companies and their ability to make a difference for students in higher education as well as looking at how the ‘institution’ of higher education could reform itself. Mark holds the companies responsible for using his investment money wisely. While he does not sit on boards of directors, he requires updates and keeps in contact digitally. He also leads the companies to other funding sources and partnerships.
Your local higher education institution may not have the Mark Cuban type donor blessing you with funding beyond your imagination but have you looked for one?