How SUNY College Secured Second Largest Gift in History

“It was a miraculous call,” says Stacy McIlduff, Vice President of Development and External Affairs at SUNY Schenectady. “It was the call we all hope for.”

The call, from an anonymous SUNY Schenectady donor, resulted in the second largest gift in the college’s 51-year history.  McIlduff sees the gift as a result of best practices in donor cultivation and stewardship throughout the pandemic.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, I was frozen.  But I saw this wonderful webinar by the Winkler Group that encouraged us to communicate with donors. Communicating with our donors that we still had need prompted this donor to reach out and ask how they could help.”

SUNY Schenectady partnered with the Winkler Group in 2018 to conduct a successful capital campaign.  The campaign focused on building relationships with donors and finding opportunities to ensure student success. 

After the campaign exceeded its goal, strong stewardship practices have kept donors apprised of the progress they’ve made possible.  When the pandemic hit, that message expanded to include the new need SUNY Schenectady students were facing.  Donors responded with new gifts, including this monumental investment.

“This is why I love my job,” says McIlduff.  “I get to meet donors like this who help people get to where they’re going.”

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