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Collaborative efforts at the WCSU Foundation rebrand and create the Fund for Western

In the past year, a major goal of the WCSU Foundation, the non-profit arm of the university that distributes funds for scholarships and programmatic needs, was to rebrand the fundraising effort to better reflect the destination of gifts and to increase awareness, motivation, and participation, specifically in annual giving. The new name of the annual giving program is the Fund for Western. The fund focuses on the university’s areas of greatest need, supporting scholarships, boosting academic enrichment, and allowing students to participate in opportunities that span far beyond the classroom experience.

Director of Development Jane von Trapp explained, “Generous donations in the past have helped augment need that extends outside of WCSU’s budget. Much of that focus is on scholarship, and we are able to help many students who would otherwise struggle to complete their studies.”

The rebranding process began in January 2012 with the hiring of Lynne LeBarron, assistant director of annual giving. Her plan to increase donations for the Fund for Western centered on affinity group participation, reaching out to alumni via their association with specific departments and organizations on campus.

“Our donors want to know that the gifts that they chose to make are providing support for those things that they themselves believe in," LeBarron said. "This includes allowing students to be able to work less hours at multiple part time jobs or giving a first generation college student the ability to actually attend and afford a university education.”

Notable professors hailing from nursing to justice and law administration and science participated in the appeal by lending their images and quotes. LeBarron’s intention was to profile familiar faces and make connections that would encourage donors to give to areas with which they identify.

 “The appeal letters for The Fund for Western provide more details about what the real needs for donor support are here at WCSU. The physical connections that the letters create are all based on true success stories. We want to show the tremendous impact their contributions provide for students to succeed not only in college and their careers, but life,” LeBarron said.

Jason Davis, director of publications and design at WCSU, is the designer of the new brand look and he spoke highly of the development department’s effort to brand something that would positively resonate with the university community and provide a more meaningful impact.

The future looks bright for the Fund for Western. There is no doubt that with continued generous participation from current and potential new donors, Western Connecticut State University will provide excellent opportunities for student achievement.

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