Wesleyan Fund Giving Will Be Key to Campaign’s Success

From the Fall 2009 Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine

Related Story: Wesleyan Fund Gifts of All Sizes Can Make a Significant Impact

The University’s Transforming Lives campaign has several specific goals, but one stands out as especially important for all of Illinois Wesleyan’s 19,000 alumni. That goal is to encourage greater participation in The Wesleyan Fund. (See chart below.)

Each year, a key part of the University’s operating budget comes from The Wesleyan Fund for annual giving. The Fund consists of gifts of all sizes. Because it makes important use of unrestricted contributions during the year they are received, The Wesleyan Fund helps meet our most pressing needs. Whatever the level of their support, donors to the Wesleyan Fund have an immediate, transformative effect on the University.

At the nation’s top liberal arts institutions, the average percentage of alumni who participate in annual giving is just under half. In comparison, fewer than one in four of our alumni donate to The Wesleyan Fund. The campaign’s goal is to increase to one in three the number of giving alumni — and, in the process, raise a total of $24 million for The Wesleyan Fund.


The Wesleyan Fund provides an excellent opportunity to transform lives. Nine in ten students receive need or merit-based financial assistance, and one in every eight dollars of financial aid comes from the Fund. Gifts of all sizes support existing scholarships and create scholarships. They can also assist students who have lost a breadwinning parent through the Parent Fund.

On average, tuition covers only 68 percent of the actual cost of an Illinois Wesleyan education. Private support from alumni and friends is essential to bridging this gap.


The Wesleyan Fund makes finances available to enhance the curriculum, and supports activities and programs that promote the quality of campus life. Money from the Fund helps send faculty and students to conferences and provides research awards. It also supports a variety of student activities, from main-stage theatre productions to 18 varsity sports.


Annual giving programs are measures of strength for bonding agencies such as Standards and Poors. Also, a major factor in college-ranking systems is a school’s alumni satisfaction, based on the percentage of alumni who donate yearly.


“When helping our alumni determine whether to give or how much to give,” says Wesleyan Fund Director Lora Wey ’88, “we ask them to reflect on their own experiences as students here, and the impact their educations had on their later lives. For the vast majority of alumni, the feeling is that Illinois Wesleyan had a profoundly positive impact.

“What we’re asking is that they now help the newest generation of students to transform their lives through the quality of the educational experiences they receive here. Giving to The Wesleyan Fund is a powerful way that alumni can help.”