The entire campus watched Jan. 31 as President Steve Pettit officially introduced the new School of Health Professions from the FMA platform. But what the campus didn’t see are the people who work to make that vision a reality.
John Matthews, executive vice president for advancement and alumni relations, and his team in the Executive Offices have been fundraising for months to support BJU’s five new growth initiatives, one of which includes the School of Health Professions (See infographic for more information about fundraising for these five growth initiatives).
Branded BJU Together, these fundraising efforts seek to raise more than $3 million for the five initiatives and $4.5 for BJU’s scholarship fund.
Pettit announced Jan. 18 via a press release that Matthews’ team had found great success in securing two large donations, together totaling $1.8 million.
“2017 was a fantastic year for development at BJU,” Pettit said. “2018 is shaping up to be an even better year. I’m so thankful for these individuals who have made these donations.”
While the donors chose to remain anonymous, BJU Public Relations said both gifts came from parents who appreciated the education their children received at BJU.
The first $1 million gift was given to BJU’s general fund to support the five key initiatives. The other gift will be divided between the general fund and the scholarship fund.
Both gifts come after years of relationship between BJU and the donor families, according to Matthews.
“Fundraising and advancement is all about relationships—relationships we have to donors and friends and relationships they have back,” Matthews said. “Nothing like this with a big gift happens quickly. It’s a process over many years where the relationship grows.”
Matthews said he believes the gifts are a result of God’s leading and blessing as well as a result of the efforts of his team.
“I think the Lord has been rewarding us for humbly leaning on Him and letting folks know that we don’t have all the resources to the extent that people might have thought,” Matthews said.
The University is now trying to communicate to donors the difference their donations make by connecting large donations to specific initiatives.
“People give big gifts to big vision,” Matthews said.
Regaining tax exemption has also made securing large donations simpler, according to Matthews. Donors can now claim tax breaks for their charitable donations to BJU.
This year’s large gifts follow two different $1 million donations given to the University during 2017.