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Shifting the donor landscape paradigm: Strategies for increasing engagement and philanthropy among donors of colour
In 2019, Brown University's Advancement Division established a diversity and inclusion major gifts role to fundraise for diversity and inclusion initiatives at Brown. Approximately US$165m was included in the US$3bn ‘BrownTogether’ fundraising campaign to support historically underrepresented groups (HUGS) as part of the university's Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University (now known as the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, or DIAP). The inaugural Director for Development for Diversity and Inclusion (DDDI) is charged with increasing donor engagement and participation within HUG populations and overall giving to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) priorities. Brown's Senior Vice President for Advancement charged the whole Division with 1) increasing awareness of DEI fundraising initiatives for all alumni and 2) increasing engagement and philanthropy among alumni of colour. The initial opportunity to achieve the first goal was for Advancement colleagues to engage the full spectrum of Brown alumni in supporting diversity initiatives. Across the country and in higher education, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the murder of George Floyd and issues of racial justice injustice among Black people shed new light on the effects of racism in America and brought greater understanding to groups of people who historically were not aware of the lived experiences of those enduring racism in this country. This helped to motivate more majority constituent donors to give to DEI initiatives. During this time, more Brown constituents became aware of the university's DEI initiatives, and the Advancement Division realised that donors from all backgrounds were interested in supporting them. As a result, Brown Advancement collectively raised over US$30m for DEI priorities in one fiscal year. Through this paper, readers will learn what steps Brown University took to work collaboratively, nurture engagement and philanthropy among donors of colour and promote DEI initiatives to the wider donor community during the dual national crises.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal.
Alyssia Coates joined Brown University in 2019, and serves as a major gift fundraiser and the academic liaison for the Centers for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, and the Study of Slavery and Justice, as well as the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity at Brown University. She is an active member of Fabulous Female Fundraisers, Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the National Association for Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). Dr Coates served for 25 years at the University of Notre Dame in various leadership roles: Regional Director of Development, Enrollment Division Senior Leader and Director of Admissions Office for Outreach and Engagement and Office of Pre-College Programs, Director of Trio Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search Programs, and Recruiter for the National Consortium for Minorities in Engineering and Science.
Ladaniel Gatling has been a professional fundraiser for over 20 years. Danny joined Guilford College in 2022 as the Vice President for Advancement. Prior to Guilford, he served as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bennett College and Director of Development for Constituent Programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Danny has a graduate degree in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, where he serves on the Alumni Board of Directors. He also serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) — Triad Chapter and is an active volunteer with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).