Brandon University’s BUILD campaign has raised more than $5 million so far, according to BU president Deborah Poff.
The university launched its capital campaign just over a year ago with hopes of raising $22 million over a five-year period. The campaign addresses three key areas vital to BU’s future and that of its students — student recruitment and retention, student success and community engagement.
Along with those priorities, the BUILD campaign is comprised of three components, including raising $7 million for the Healthy Living Centre, $5 million for student scholarships and bursaries, and $10 million for aboriginal student success.
Although she couldn’t confirm exactly how much the capital campaign has brought in to date, Poff said the university has received many generous gifts from both local and national donors. She’s also hopeful campaign organizers will be making two "significant" fundraising announcements in the near future.
To help with the campaign, the university was looking to hire a new associate vice-president (external) — a position left vacant after a retirement — but the search was unsuccessful, Poff said.
In the meantime, the university has hired a consulting company with experience asking for donations "of a large magnitude."
"They’re very experienced people and this is what they do for a living on a higher scale than we do," Poff said. "They will be responsible for organizing 12 to 15 major applications for funds to major donors and foundations."
A major push for the university right now is putting out funding requests for the HLC, which opened just over a year ago. Poff said the facility still isn’t "completely paid off" but wouldn’t reveal how much is left to go.
On top of the $6.3 million the university previously raised for the project in 2011, the federal, provincial and municipal governments combined pitched in roughly $12.5 million. But so far the $20-million facility is generating enough revenue to cover the costs of staff and other expenses, Poff said.
The university has also constructed a business plan in hopes the facility will generate enough money to pay for itself.
"We hope that it will be so successful down the road — and it gives every indication it will be — that they’ll do even more than that and be able to help support the university," Poff said. "Given the way things are going ... that will be happening in the not-too-distant future."
Facility manager Maureen Bonar said more than 1,575 students have enlisted in the facility since January and more than 1,000 community members have purchased a monthly or yearly membership.
"It’s always populated which is nice," Poff said. "It’s a busy place."