Engaging for Good

Jayn Bailey Chaney ’05, director of alumni and donor relations

This fall, Grinnell will announce its first comprehensive fundraising campaign in 20 years. The goal? To raise $175 million to help current and future Grinnellians live lives of purpose and to continue our proud tradition of effecting change and transforming the communities we inhabit throughout the world. You will soon be hearing more about this landmark campaign and the opportunities for you to be involved.

The launch of this campaign provides the perfect opportunity for re-examining our alumni relations opportunities. We want to make sure we are aligning our staff and resources in ways that allow us to support and champion our alumni and donor community through this campaign and in the years to follow. While the dollar goal of the campaign is an obvious focus, an equally important goal of the campaigns is to increase the number of alumni who are meaningfully connected to the College — because we will always be better if more alumni are connected to and invested in Grinnell. This means creating new pathways for alumni to renew their commitment to lifelong learning and for giving their time as mentors and volunteers. It means directing alumni passion and energy in new ways to impact and help current students. Unfortunately, it likely means saying goodbye to some things we have done for many years.

We truly wish we could do everything, but we just don’t have the resources (people and/or budget). So we are evaluating our alumni programs to consider which strategically serve our community the best. To that end, later this fall we will be inviting all alumni to share feedback regarding your preferences about alumni communications and alumni relations opportunities and services. Keep an eye out for this survey before the holidays.

In conjunction with our campaign launch, however, we are excited to share several new or expanded initiatives that are underway:

  • Improved communication with all alumni, especially those who serve in a leadership volunteer role within our community. We want to provide new and compelling ways for alumni to learn about what’s happening at Grinnell by facilitating communication on issues of interest and concern within the alumni body. One way we are doing this is through our new monthly e-newsletter, The Grinnellian, which we launched in July.
  • Development of identity-based engagement communities and intersectional networks for alumni to connect with those who shared similar experiences as students at Grinnell and to foster strong connections between diverse alumni and students.
  • Enhanced support for our regional networks program volunteers to ensure they have the resources necessary to organize diverse events in their home communities that attract a broad array of attendees and foster meaningful connections among them.
  • Cultivation of a volunteer leadership program and affinity network for alumni athletes to build upon the success of strong traditions like our fall athletic reunion weekends.
  • A new virtual book club for Grinnellians to study, explore, and unpack texts together across generations.

We eagerly anticipate the creativity, generosity of spirit, and bold ideas that you, our alumni, will share with us as we embark on this next chapter of alumni engagement. And I hope you will attend one of our upcoming regional campaign events — we are cooking up something extra special for you! Please see Page 17 for a schedule of events. As a proud alumna, I’m convinced that, after you attend one of our events, you will be reminded of all the ways that Grinnellians come together to engage and to serve the greater good.

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