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News & Press: Member Insights

Giving Large, Giving Young and Giving to Solve Problems Donors Know First-Hand

Thursday, May 16, 2019  

By James M. Brasher III
Founding Principal of Development Counsel .

Like all of you, I read the daily digest of grants made by various donors. Using this data, I have been trying to help my clients rethink how they might get significant gifts from sources that they had not considered previously. Major donations, like the one reported in the Washington University Newsletter excerpted below, demonstrate that large gifts can come from young donors who want to work on problems to which they personally relate.

My clients and I are reviewing how problem statements and lists of comparative advantages are better expressed in order to be more compelling to various categories of prospects. We are also changing our prospecting and cultivation practices to include a broader spectrum of donors. We are creating new and better vehicles for interacting with prospects and donors - both the institution’s traditional donor base and others who are seeking solutions to problems that those organization might have the ability to solve.

Good vehicles help institutions and donors co-create programs and initiatives that are more successful and to which donors are already deeply committed to solving. Vehicles that I helped to develop many years ago to co-create agendas with and among donors at UNCF, CSIS, the Carter Center, and the Synergos Institute have produced dramatic results and built the loyalty of generations of donors and leaders.

Creating great vehicles for socializing donors and co-creating ideas means having a seamless connection between the fundraising and the programmatic staff of our organizations.

The University of Washington today announced a $3.6 million gift commitment awarded over 12 years to the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D). The gift commitment will fund full scholarship packages for approximately 30 underrepresented undergraduate students based on financial need.

Armon Dadgar, 28, and his partner Joshua Kalla, 27, made the commitment to establish the Armon Dadgar and Joshua Kalla Term Scholarship for Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Students. Dadgar graduated from the UW in 2011 with a degree in computer science and is the co-founder and CTO at San Francisco-based HashiCorp, the leader in multi-cloud infrastructure automation software. Dadgar has been recognized by Forbes Magazine on its “30 Under 30: Young Innovators Transforming Enterprise Tech” list. Kalla is an assistant professor of political science and statistics and data science at Yale University.

“This transformational gift commitment will have an immediate impact on the lives of our students, as well as their families and communities,” said Rickey Hall, UW’s Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity and University Diversity Officer. “We are incredibly grateful that Armon and Joshua recognize the needs of students to have access to a UW education. Their contribution speaks to the significance of OMA&D’s work, as well as greater diversity efforts across our campus communities.”

SOURCE: “UW OMA&D receives $3.6 million gift commitment from Armon Dadgar and Joshua Kalla to support underrepresented students”

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