The Art and Science of Persuasion

Fundraising is an enormously long process, with hours devoted to stewardship.

—Kenneth W. Stein, William E. Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History, Political Science, and Israeli Studies, and Director,
Institute for the Study of Modern Israel

Vol. 8 No. 4
February/March 2006

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The Art and Science of Persuasion
Faculty, fundraising, and Emory's comprehensive campaign

The Development and University Relations Faculty Advisory Council

The Emory College Faculty Committee on Fundraising

"Faculty should know that this train is moving, and if there are suggestions or claims to be made or priorities to be established, this is the time to do it."

"Fundraising is an enormously long process, with hours devoted to stewardship."

Dangerous Ideas
The responsibilities of courageous inquiry

Emory's Living Room
The case for a university faculty club

A Day in the Life
Juggling family and academic science



Academic Exchange:
What are you doing now with the Association for Emory Alumni?

KS: They’ve asked me to give two sets of lectures on Israel and the Middle East, one for January in Florida and one for the New York City metropolitan area for January through April. I’ll be giving different lectures in each series. Emory College and the Office of Institutional Advancement have joined to spark interest and support for the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI). This is in part an effort to talk to Emory alums, their parents, and people interested in Emory about Israel and the Middle East, and engage them in a discussion of what we are doing and need to do at Emory in this area of study.

AE: Would you say you’re a fundraiser in this capacity?

KS: That’s part of it, but I’m also doing it because I have been asked over the last four or five years by former students to come to these two geographic areas and provide substantive analyses about Israel and the Middle East. Each one of these presentations will be captained by former students who are members of the local Emory alumni association. But it’s not just fundraising for Israel studies. It’s to help rejuvenate Emory alumni associations with activity and identity. I know I’ll enjoy seeing many of my former students and their parents again. Beyond that, our funding for ismi pretty well ends by the end of 2006-07; there is an immediate need to raise significant sums of money, for endowment and for operations. We can with support and very few additional appointments make ISMI the notable institute for the study of modern Israel in North America. And in doing so, make a substantial contribution to growth of Emory’s solid program in Jewish studies.

AE: How comfortable are you being a cultivator of donors?

KS: It’s part of my daily fare. I arrived in 1977, and the first grant I was awarded came in 1978. It launched the international studies program, along with several area studies programs. That set the foundation for the enormously successful Institute for Comparative and International Studies. From that notice, the Emory administration and President Carter asked me to join the Carter Center. We obtained funds from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Koret Foundation and others. Out of all that came funding relationships with several family foundations, some former students, and then parents of former students. Of course at the Carter Center we were greatly aided by President Carter’s prestige. I learned that fundraising is an enormously long process, with hours devoted to stewardship.

Over the years many of my former students pester me regularly for assessments of Middle Eastern events. When I travel to different parts of the country they and their parents and kids show up. Many have become close friends. When their own kids come of college age, they call or write, bring them to the office. I guess it is has been about five years since I taught the second generation. Coming to know highly talented parents of present and former students was not anticipated when I was a
graduate student; it certainly has become a special by-product of teaching.

AE: Does fundraising ever create tension with your scholarly work?

KS: To the contrary. It enables me to do things I couldn’t otherwise do. If I hadn’t started fundraising with the federal government in the early 1980s, I wouldn’t have been asked to participate in the organization of the Carter Center. I was the only assistant professor on that committee. It exposed me to Carter and to a part of American foreign policy where there was a core of research that I could undertake, after sitting in numerous meetings with him, heads of state, and dozens of foreign policy bureaucrats from most Middle Eastern countries.

For many ISMI donors with corporate backgrounds, quarterly productivity is critical. While they take an interest in seeing measurable outcomes to their giving, they refrain from any management of their gifts. There has never been so much as a wink and a nod that a donor’s money was supposed to create a particular outcome. Donors look for track records. Former students who join in the giving do so because of the positive experience they had at Emory. I hope that many who have not participated in the past will join this time, and others who have will continue to build extraordinary excellence. And if they do not, I still have those wonderful relationships with them and their parents.