The following institutions were selected in March 2017 to receive Venture Fund grants to support professional development and networking activities:

University of Michigan ($2,500)

Prospect development and analytics teams from sixteen institutions will meet to identify solutions for key challenges, build consensus for industry-wide best practices, and share data and code sharing across institutions.

University of Minnesota ($5,000)

The Big Ten alumni professionals conference brings 80 attendees from 14 Big Ten institutions together annually. The day and a half event includes break out and plenary sessions about emerging alumni relations trends and working with campus partners.

Cleveland State University ($5,000)

Cleveland State University will use funds to launch The Northeast Ohio Summit on Alumni Engagement, a new day-long professional development conference. Attendees from research universities, community colleges, small private institutions and health sciences programs will be invited to build regional partnerships.

Loyola Academy ($1,500)

Advancement vice presidents from ten parochial high schools will come together to collaborate for new ideas. Topics will be succession planning, onboarding a new president, and prospect management practices.

Northwestern University ($2,420)

The roundtable will focus on graduate student and alumni engagement.  Ten universities will participate to identify creating systematic and centralized approaches for this alumni population.

University of Wisconsin Stevens Point ($1,500)

The annual giving officers from 25 institutions in Wisconsin will meet for SWAG (Summit for Wisconsin Annual Giving).  The summit provides a zero cost professional development opportunity during a time of tight budgets.


The following institutions were selected in August 2017 to receive Venture Fund grants to support professional development and networking activities:

Northcentral Technical College ($5000)

The 16 members of the Wisconsin Technical College System and their respective foundations will organize the Wisconsin Development of Members (WIS-DOM), a state-wide, six month training focused on board governance and engagement. The initiative will provide cross-institutional professional development impacting both the state system and individual campus foundations.

Northwestern University ($5000)

Northwestern University will host the Gift Agreement Writers and Advisers Cohort (GAWA) meeting with 30 institutions participating. The cohort will produce gift agreement function benchmarking and data analysis from up to 50 institutions.

University of Minnesota Duluth ($5000)

A new conference will be held focusing on alumni engagement for outstate colleges and universities in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. The attendees will address engagement challenges and opportunities for distantly clustered alumni populations.

DePaul University ($5000)

De Paul University will launch a professional development event to bring together District V postsecondary Catholic institutions under the banner “Connecting Philanthropy to Mission.” The President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and other leaders will share how to keep mission at the forefront of advancement strategies.

Ivy Tech Community College ($5000)

Ivy Tech Community College will offer a one-day conference about harnessing the power of community to create better experiences for community college students. Among the topics are corporate and foundation partnerships, experiential learning, and industry and student collaboration.

Wayne State University ($3500)

Wayne State University’s Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving is partnering with the Michigan Association of State Universities to host a day-long professional development conference for alumni relations, annual giving and alumni communications staff from all 15 Michigan public universities. Sessions will include navigating executive level change, peer-driven alumni board of directors, and multi-channel alumni communications strategy.