By Amy Sharaf
Ryerson University could be $100 million richer if its fundraising campaign, Invest in Futures, keeps up its successful pace.
Since the public launch in May, more than $63 million has been raised through private donations to fund key initiatives such as scholarships, infrastructure and technological development. It is the first fundraising drive of this magnitude at Ryerson.
Prior to the launch, the campaign kept a low profile, despite raising significant sums. However, according to the fundraising package called Invest in Futures: Case for Support, the public phase was supposed to start in 2002.
Vice President University Advancement Adam Kahan said it is customary to go through a “silent phase” where donations still come in, but the campaign does not go public until a large chunk of the goal has been made.
Donated dollars have already been put to work on campus with construction of the Heidelberg Centre-School of Graphic Communications Management, as well as the development of a new business building.
Sears Canada Inc. is one of the companies who donated money for scholarships in the School of Retail Management, and Kodak Canada Inc. has provided funding for a new digital imaging facility in the School of Image Arts.
Now that Ryerson has opened up the public phase of the fundraising campaign, the university hopes to reach its $100 million goal by 2007. “The objective was to raise that within a couple of years. I still think that is very realistic,” said Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse.”It’s moving on and I’m really, really pleased.”
Money raised from Invest in Futures have funded the capital projects on campus, and Kahan said there has been support for the program. “People support us because they believe in the mission and vision of our school. They support our achievements and what we are trying to achieve,” he said.
The campaign has attracted donations from corporations and alumni with ties to Ryerson. But other donors such as Jack Cockwell and G. Raymond Chang have together donated more than $6 million to Ryerson’s Continuing Education programs and new building, though they’re not directly connected to the university.
These donations have been met with praise. “We feel very grateful towards their generosity, and we also feel that they have made a terrific investment,” Kahan said. “[Ryerson] is a first-class institution.”
With money continuing to pour in from donors, Kahan said Ryerson can reach its $100 million goal. “It will happen,” he said, “And it’s a question of whether we can achieve this sooner rather than later.”