Spring 2010: Campaign Chronicle
The Quiet Power of Annual Giving
Sally Lehr 65N 76MN and her husband, Ralph Lehr 65C 69D, became Emory donors in 1974 with their first contribution of $100. Lloyd Parker 74G made his first gift, $10 to Emory’s graduate school, in 1982.
Both Lehr, a clinical associate professor in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Parker, professor of chemistry at Oxford College, became regular annual donors. Their modest gifts to the School of Nursing and Oxford, respectively, have totaled thousands of dollars over the years, and every gift they’ve made since September 2005 has moved Campaign Emory closer to its $1.6 billion goal.
“Most donors who make small gifts each year have no idea how powerful their support becomes,” says Susan Cruse, Emory’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations. “Large gifts from foundations and major philanthropists tend to get all the press. But Emory’s annual donors—those people who give what they can year after year—are truly the lifeblood of the University.”
Annual giving provides the largest base of critical unrestricted support for Emory’s schools and units. Steady gifts of all sizes from alumni, parents, employees, and friends help fund scholarships, student programs, classroom technology, teaching awards, and other priorities.
“Not everyone can make a large gift, but everyone can give in meaningful ways,” says Crystal Edmonson 95C, broadcast editor at the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Emory Alumni Board campaign committee chair. “Emory appreciates all gifts equally and values all support regardless of the amount. We give every year out of loyalty and because we believe in what the University can do when we all get on board.”
A key part of Campaign Emory, the Emory Annual Fund offers creative ways to support the University, including its Adopt-a-Scholar program, reunion gifts, student and parent giving programs, and the 834 Club, whose members give any amount ending in $8.34 each month to the designation of their choice. Annual gifts can be directed to any school or unit.
In addition to their ongoing annual gifts, Lehr and Parker have made significant planned gifts. Lehr has made the School of Nursing the beneficiary of her IRA, and Parker has included Oxford in his will. Because they are Emory employees, their gifts also count toward MyEmory, the employee and retiree component of the campaign.
Lehr, who has taught at the School of Nursing for more than thirty years and is past president of the Nurses Alumni Association, serves as cochair of MyEmory. She invests in Emory, she says, because Emory has given her so much.
“I give to organizations I value, and Emory is at the top of the list,” Lehr says. “I work here, my heart is here, and my money goes where my heart is.”