Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rickards’ Letter: Duke’s Silent So Far

In response to a Durham Herald Sun story on fundraising at UNC –Chapel Hill and Duke for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, Ed Rickards (Duke ’60, Duke Law ’63) wrote a letter the H-S published last Friday.

The H-S story reported:

Officials at Duke reported Thursday that giving to their school was up about 11 percent, pushing the overall total for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to $380.1 million.

Campus fundraisers credit the figure to the popularity of Duke's efforts to endow scholarships. […]
Rickards' letter reminded readers Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, and his administration have a pressing need “to proclaim good news in order to survive their handling of the lacrosse debacle.”

Rickards went on to say some other very important things including:
• Exactly half of the increase over the previous year came from an installment payment by The Duke Endowment toward its one-time pledge of $75 million for scholarships. With this surge omitted, the increase did little more than cover inflation.

• The claim that more than 75 percent has been pledged is distorted by over-subscription in areas like athletic scholarships. The undisclosed secret: only half of the money for need-based undergraduate aid is in sight, which puts the big goal of the initiative in jeopardy.

• [Identifying] the $380 million as "philanthropic gifts" is seriously misleading; for example a large portion is for sponsored medical research, which is to say payment for work to be done.
I posted on Rickards’ letter here.

I’m a Duke alum who’s lived in and around Durham for 33 years. I read the letters section of the H-S. Typically, Duke responds promptly and fully to a H-S letter such as Rickards'.

But despite Rickards’ asking specific and reasonable questions which Duke has the information to answer, the University hasn't responded.

Why hasn’t Duke responded to Rickards’ questions?

The answer may be as simple as Duke needing a bit more time.

I’ll continue to watch the H-S letters section. I’ll post as soon as Duke responds to Rickards.

Meanwhile, the thread to my first post concerning Rickards’ letter is very informative. People obviously knowledgeable concerning fundraising, including Rickards, have been commenting.

It’s a great thread but it’s now very lengthy.

A long thread will often discourage or confound people just “joining the conversation.”

So I’m going to leave the following comment on the thread:
The commenters here are providing a very important service.

But with the thread now lengthy I want to invite you all to continue the conversation at this post:

http://johninnorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2007/08/rickards-letter-dukes-silent-so-far.html

You’re free to remain here but if you move to the new post, please consider including in your first comment a summary of what you said here.

Thank you all for commenting.

John
I’ll post again Sunday concerning Duke’s annual giving.

Below is the full text of Rickards’ letter. The H-S story is here.
__________________________________________________________

To the editor:

In a recent story, The Herald-Sun relied on a Duke University press release touting a record $380 million in gifts.

This total must be examined carefully in light of the pressing need of President Richard Brodhead and his administration to proclaim good news in order to survive their handling of the lacrosse debacle.

Exactly half of the increase over the previous year came from an installment payment by The Duke Endowment toward its one-time pledge of $75 million for scholarships. With this surge omitted, the increase did little more than cover inflation.

When measured against the university's budget growth, far exceeding inflation, the impact of the gifts actually diminished. The news release boasted about Brodhead's Financial Aid Initiative.

The claim that more than 75 percent has been pledged is distorted by over-subscription in areas like athletic scholarships. The undisclosed secret: only half of the money for need-based undergraduate aid is in sight, which puts the big goal of the initiative in jeopardy.

Finally there's clever, concealing wording about the Alumni Annual Fund. For 31 consecutive years news releases said the fund "exceeded its goal." This year, the Annual Fund merely "exceeded its previous year's total" with parts like the Law School ominously short of objective.

Overarching these details, to identify the $380 million as "philanthropic gifts" is seriously misleading; for example a large portion is for sponsored medical research, which is to say payment for work to be done.

Significantly, the university made no announcement of total contributions for perpetual endowment -- the heart of Duke's enduring strength.

Ed Rickards

Duke '63,
Duke Law School '66

3 comments:

Locomotive Breath said...

Have you heard back yet on Piot's "scholarly" publication using his rant attacking KC at the "Shut Up and Teach?" event last February? Perhaps it is still "forthcoming".

Anonymous said...

Please remember that brodhead is an english teacher and not a CPA. He can write what he thinks how much money came in but he cant add up the numbers to be what he said. I am sure he will say the facts and information he receives keep changing so the numbers keep changing. I guess we will have to just wait and learn from his errors. lol lol

Anonymous said...

Still wondering about the $80 million gift to the Duke-National University of Singapore and whether or not it was included in the fundraising totals.