AU’s Sylvia Burwell to travel the country to promote ‘Change Can’t Wait’ campaign

Campaign has raised more than half of $500 million goal so far, officials say

AU’s Sylvia Burwell to travel the country to promote ‘Change Can’t Wait’ campaign

The University launched its new campaign in May 2021, seeking to raise $500 million while emphasizing three areas of focus in its re-brand: elevate, inspire and lead. The campaign will visit five cities with high AU alumni populations from Feb. 6 through June 15.

The cities include the district, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Fort Lauderdale.

“We’d planned to start this regional rollout of this strategy in January of this year in California, and then Omicron was on the rise so we postponed that, so now we’re starting our tour in Florida in mid-February,” said Leah Brady, the executive director of campaign engagement. 

“And obviously monitor the situation in every region where we plan to go.” 

The tour aims to engage the University community, through encouraging alumni donations, alumni employment of students and promoting interaction within the University community, Brady said. This will be accomplished through a targeted approach where Burwell and various faculty members will present on regional-specific topics that relate back to one of the three initiatives of the campaign. 

“Knowing who our communities are in different areas, and what their industries are and then any sort of cultural elements of any city are things that we’re taking into account when we’re looking at topics and faculty speakers who may be of interest there,” Brady said.

The presentation in Fort Lauderdale will feature the Sine Institute and a discussion on policy implementation. Los Angeles will focus on media and social impact, and San Francisco will focus on inclusive technology policies. D.C. and NYC’s regional topics are still being determined. 

While there are no plans yet to visit international cities with large concentrations of international alumni, Brady said that there’s interest in doing so in the future. 

Achievements accomplished by the campaign so far include an increase in average annual fundraising by 31 percent, and an increase in giving to equity-based funds by 48 percent annually, wrote Elizabeth Deal, a University spokesperson, in an email to The Eagle. The “Change Can’t Wait” campaign itself has raised $295 million out of its $500 million goal as of mid-December, Deal said.

According to Deal, the tour is being funded through the University’s operating budget. $500 thousand is allotted for the University’s spring event budget, which is around 12.5 percent of the campaign’s overall budget which sits at $4 million. The overall campaign budget is 0.5 percent of the University’s operating budget which is $761 million for 2022.

The events will adhere to regional and University COVID-19 health standards, including a mask and vaccine requirement, as well as optional outdoor venues, should health standards require it. 

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