Case Study:

College fundraiser shows how to
chase the relationship, not the money

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One Relationship = Multi-Million Dollar Gifts

In 1997, an elderly couple, who we did not know, gave Midland College (TX) a one million dollar gift. To honor them, we proposed naming a new Medical Science building for them. We held the groundbreaking in 1999 and the wife died shortly thereafter. After her death, I visited with the surviving spouse each week until his death in 2006. While he was still mobile, we would go to lunch and we would always drive by his building. Each year on his birthday, we would hold a small luncheon in his honor in one of the classrooms in his building--he would visit the laboratories; students and faculty would stop by to offer their best wishes; and children from our child development center would come over to sing "Happy Birthday" and other songs.

Although we encouraged this gentleman to attend other campus events, he declined primarily because of his severe hearing impairment. As his mobility became more restricted, I would stop by Barnes and Noble to pick up special coffee drinks and sometimes chocolate (which he dearly loved) and we would visit in his apartment at a local retirement home. Sometimes we would eat in the home's lunch room. We would talk about his early days as a cable tool driller in the oil patch; how he saw the flag being raised on Iwo Jima from his ship during WWII; and we would take turns playing solitaire on his computer. When he would "mess up" his computer, the IT folks from the college would go over and fix it for him. Everyone who met him from our campus loved this kind, gentle giant.

After his death at age 94, we learned that he had left the vast majority of his estate to the college, making the total value of this couple's gift in excess of $4.6 million. We miss him greatly--our friend, who through his estate plan, remembered Midland College in his will and rewarded the institution that he had grown to love.



Eileen Piwetz

Midland College - Midland, TX

About Midland College

The mission of the Midland College Foundation, which was created in 1973, is:

  1. 1. To advance education through financial support of Midland College, including all of its departments, by the improvement of its research, teaching, scholarship and facilities.

  2. 2. To receive, hold, manage, and control property, whether real, personal or mixed, acquired by the Corporation by donation, gift, grant, devise, bequest, purchase or other means.

  3. 3. To transfer or use all or any part of the corpus or income for the benefit of Midland College in accordance with the general or specific purposes stipulated by the donors, grantors, or testators, or, in the absence of such stipulations, for such uses as may be determined by the Board of Directors.

  4. 4. To promptly distribute all net income in excess of operating requirements to promote the educational advancement of Midland College.

The foundation directs major gift fundraising activities and provides asset management services in support of educational excellence at Midland College in Midland, Texas. We serve donors (individuals, corporations, and organizations) and the college (administrators, faculty, staff, and students). We are responsible for soliciting, receipting, acknowledging, and managing endowments and other gifts, and disbursing funds to benefit educational service programs at Midland College. The foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation.


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