Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s revitalized and strategic focus on increasing alumni engagement, external outreach, and creating new partnerships is paying great dividends.
According to Vice President for University Advancement George Cotton, Sr., the University has made history by generating nearly $6.5 million during the 2015-2016 year. This is the largest single-year fundraising total in Florida A&M University’s 128-year history, only exceeding the $5.8 million raised in 2014-2015 after a renewed focus was placed on fundraising under the leadership of President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D.
“The 2015-2016 numbers underscore the level of support we have been able to raise across our stakeholder base and externally,” said Mangum. “Our alumni, supporters, and corporate partners see our vision, and they believe it’s worth the investment. I am a believer that you plant your seeds in good ground, and I think that people are seeing that FAMU, and the direction we are taking, is indeed fertile ground.”
Mangum applauded the efforts of Cotton, his fundraising team, and the broad range of alumni, University Trustees, Foundation Board members, faculty, staff, and students, who participated in numerous fundraising efforts throughout the year.
“We are extremely excited about the spirit of giving being felt across our University community,” said Cotton. “In a time when HBCUs around the nation are experiencing a decline in resources, I think it speaks volumes about the level of financial support we are receiving from our alumni and donors who believe in our passion for this wonderful institution.”
According to Cotton, this year’s success is just the beginning for FAMU’s fundraising efforts.
“Our next big push is to expand non-alumni and stakeholder giving by 50 percent, strengthen corporate and foundation giving by 100 percent, and increase alumni engagement by more than 35 percent,” Cotton said.
The University is also currently in the assessment phase of a $100 million capital campaign, which will be a five-year initiative encompassing the core areas of athletics, academic enrichment, endowment growth, agribusiness, research, arts and music, and facilities enhancement. According to Cotton, this undertaking represents the largest initiative ever for a public, historically Black college or university.
According to Mangum, hopes are high for a successful campaign.
“I am encouraged by the increase in the number of individual donors providing cash gifts of more than $100,000 in the last two years. It is has been remarkable to have alumni answer the call for support and work to rebuild a culture of philanthropy here at FAMU,” said Mangum, noting that the number of major donors, those over $25,000, has also increased significantly in the last two years.
Mangum also pointed to alumni like Brodes Hartley and Dorothy Terrell, who have provided ongoing financial support for FAMU and its students.
Kenya Sykes, an alumna and small business owner of K.M. Sykes, CPA P.C., of New York, is another example of alumni who have made a commitment to give to FAMU throughout the year towards various efforts and needs.
“FAMU gave me an opportunity by opening doors for me that have served me for 21 years,” said Sykes, who said the increased outreach from the University, Athletics, and the National Alumni Association, has inspired her and others to give more frequently. “I have a solemn obligation to the current students to preserve, protect, and expand their opportunities.”
Mangum echoed Sykes’ sentiments.
“Florida A&M University is a unique treasure; we owe it to future generations to assure that the resources are available to assist them in realizing their dreams,” she said.
Founded in 1887, FAMU is the only public, land-grant HBCU in the State University System of Florida. ESSENCE and MONEY magazines rank FAMU No. 5 among all national universities and colleges on the “50 Best Colleges for African-Americans” list. Additionally, the list identifies FAMU as the No.1 historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the nation.
The National Science Foundation lists FAMU as the No.1 HBCU in the nation for research and development expenditures. U.S. News & World Report names FAMU among the best national universities, and Forbes magazine lists the University as one of 2016’s “America’s Top Colleges,” and as one of its “Best in the South,” “Best Public Colleges,” and “Best Research Universities.” The Princeton Review named FAMU among its “2016 Best Colleges: Region-by-Region” list, ranking FAMU as one of the “Best Southeastern” colleges and universities in the nation.