Moving forward: The Big Ideas and fundraising campaign

As we kick off the second semester, I am pleased to provide an update on the Big Ideas as well as Drake’s emerging University-wide fundraising campaign.

As a reminder, and for those new to the University, the Big Ideas initiative solicited more than 50 bold, transformational ideas from the campus community designed to elevate and define Drake’s future. Through a detailed and year-long evaluation process, the University narrowed down the Big Ideas into six themes, which will become the cornerstones of the upcoming fundraising campaign:

  • Center for Public Democracy
  • Digital Proficiency Platform
  • Every Bulldog a Changemaker
  • Intergenerational Campus
  • Jay N. Darling Institute
  • University Center

In March, we were forced to put the Big Ideas and campaign planning on pause due to the pandemic. While supporting our students’ and community’s most immediate needs remains paramount, I’m happy to announce that the Drake University Board of Trustees has agreed to move forward with planning for Drake’s comprehensive fundraising campaign. Key next steps as we resume this exciting process include:

  • Re-engage campus leaders, Big Ideas Champions, and key messengers. Together, we will work to sharpen the details around campaign priorities, Big Ideas narratives, and the messaging for the emerging campaign. These individuals received an invitation to a meeting Feb. 11, which will review the campaign process and next steps in more detail.
  • Collaborate with 160over90, a national marketing agency we have partnered with for the last four years, to refine campaign messaging, conduct discovery meetings, and define communications plans. In addition, 160over90 will conduct discovery meetings from mid-February to mid-March. These meetings will include each of the Big Ideas Champions, Academic Deans, campus leadership, and select volunteers. They will build off previous conversations with Champions and work to bring clarity and consensus around fundraising priorities and inspiring narratives.

This campaign is a reason for all of us to look to the future with great optimism. It is an opportunity to accelerate and sustain the Big Ideas that will shape Drake University for years to come. Please watch OnCampus for more updates as the campaign progresses.

John Smith, Vice President, University Advancement