Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Duke’s Donations Drop; The Chronicle’s The Same

A story in today’s Chronicle begins:

At the half-way mark in the 2009 fiscal year, private donations to the University were down about 20 percent from the same point the year before, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

Duke netted a record-breaking $351.6 million in contributions last fiscal year, including pledges, according to Fiscal Year 2007/2008 Financial Reports. Private donations-which were made by more than 100,000 individuals-accounted for about 18 percent of Duke's $1.93-billion operating budget for the year, Schoenfeld said. . . .
The rest of TC’s story’s here.


My comments:

Are you one of those who appreciate The Chronicle’s news and editorial support of the Brodhead administration?

If you are, you’ll like today’s story.

V-p Schoenfeld, executive director of alumni and development communications Peter Vaughn, Duke’s Fiscal Year 2007/2008 Financial Reports and TC itself are the only sources TC used to explain Duke’s giving drop.

If TC sought comments from people who’ve been critical of Brodhead’s leadership, their comments didn’t make it into TC’s story.

There's no mention of the many alums and others who’ve publicly stated they won’t give to Duke, at least while Brodhead's president and "Dick's senior team" is in place; or who say they’ve cut the amount of their annual giving in response to what they see as the Brodhead administration’s many failures.

Those failures include Duke’s disgraceful enablement of the lies and frame-up attempt which a Chronicle editorial recently referred to as “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.” ( Does even the disbarred Mike Nifong still refer to the frame-up attempt that way? Who were the editors opining for?)

If you go to the story’s comment thread, you’ll find some comments that are crude, even senseless.

But you’ll also find comments that offer information and raise questions that should have been in TC’s story.

Most people who read here can easily tell the difference between the crude, senseless comments and the other ones.


Anonymous said...

You say: "There's no mention of the many alums and others who’ve publicly stated they won’t give to Duke"

Cite your sources, John. Who are these many alums who have talked publicly? I want to see some examples -- and not anonymous comments on blogs either. You have no way of confirming that those who comment anonymously are actually who they say they are or that they have any connection to Duke whatsoever.

What's more, John, maybe you haven't noticed that the global economy is in recession. Trillions of dollars in market wealth has been erased. That's likely a bigger factor in the decline of donations than the the 2006 lacrosse scandal.

Anonymous said...

"Crude?" "Senseless?"
Those remarks look like the typical response from the zombies who continue to think Nifong was just an abberation and Brodhead was just trying to do his job. Until one of those twits finds himself a victim of a similar rush to judgement, they will continue to parrot the "we love Brodhead; the lacrosse players are guilty of something--anything." The we-love-Obama-regardless mantra bears a striking similarity.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Locomotive Breath said...

Jay Bilas in Duke Magazine...

A true leader has the vision and courage to recognize what is right, especially in the face of adversity, and fears not the consequences of unreasonable response. A true leader needs not the benefit of hindsight to make clear the right path. From March 2006 to date, President Brodhead’s mishandling of the challenges presented has proven him incapable of effectively leading Duke into the future.

While President Brodhead can point to a few ineffectually communicated words here and there for a feeble claim that he “emphasized” the protection of the rights of Duke’s students, his claim fails the laugh test. The vast majority of his words and actions, and in many cases his silence, emphasized an aura of guilt of the students and of the university. From the beginning, President Brodhead abdicated his responsibility as Duke’s leader to stand up for fairness and truth. Instead, President Brodhead chose the path of political expediency. He failed to effectively counter factually inaccurate and inappropriate statements about Duke and its students, failed to forcefully speak out against procedural irregularities, and failed to take appropriate action in response to repeated attacks upon the due process rights of Duke’s students. That is unacceptable.

If such failures in leadership are not enough, for the same reasons that President Brodhead forced the resignation of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler—because confidence in his ability to lead had been compromised, and a need to move forward in a new direction—President Brodhead should resign or be dismissed. And, based upon [trustee chair] Bob Steel’s letter of April 11, 2007, in which Mr. Steel stated that the board agreed with the principles President Brodhead established and the actions he took, the resignation of Mr. Steel and any board members that acted in lock step with President Brodhead are also appropriate.

Jay Bilas ‘86, J.D. ‘92
Charlotte, North Carolina

Anonymous said...

Duke's fundraising numbers over the last two fiscal years may not be as strong as they appear, particularly in terms of support from alumni and parents. There is evidence to suggest that this weakening of support began before the financial crisis.

A significant portion of Duke's fundraising comes from a handful of very large donors who have very close relationships with Duke , e.g. The Duke Endowment, the Gates Foundation and certain Trustees. I suspect Duke used these relationships to manage/accelerate contributions so as to not show any ill effects from Duke's mishandling of the lacrosse incident. While the recessionary economy certainly is affecting fiscal 2009 contributions, I believe that the acceleration of contributions into fiscal 2007 and 2008 is also contributing to the decline in donations this year.

The following observations are based on information from Duke Development's annual reports for the fiscal years ended 6/30/08 and 6/30/07.

---Total contributions in fiscal 2008 were about $ 386 million compared to about $ 380 million in fiscal 2007 --- an increase of about 1.5%, which is less than inflation over this one year period. The year to year increase is even weaker when one considers that , based on demographics, the total number of alumni most likely increased between 2007 and 2008.

--- The percentage of total contributions directly from alumni and parents for fiscal 2008 was 19 %, compared to 23% and 28% respectively for 2007 and 2006. It appears that contributions from alumni decreased by roughly $ 15 million ( about 20%) from 2007 to 2008. About 41,000 alumni made contributions in 2008, approximately the same number as in 2007. I believe the number of alumni contributing in these years is somewhat overstated since there are some who contributed a ridiculously low amount, e.g 88 cents , to express displeasure with Duke's handling of the lacrosse incident. About 45,000 alumni contributed in fiscal 2006.

--- The Duke Endowment ( TDE ) makes significant contributions to Duke --- about $ 78 million in fiscal 2008 and $ 75 million in 2007. This represents about 20 % of total contributions. The relationship between Duke and TDE is unusual ( unique ? ) and TDE is, in effect, a captive donor to Duke. Originally, the Duke family " separately " endowed the University and TDE but with the requirement in TDE's charter that a significant portion of its annual grants go to Duke. If Duke had been founded as other universities/colleges, all of the original funding from the Duke family would have gone to the University. As such, TDE would not have existed and its annual grants would instead be additional investment earnings on the University's endowment. Recognizing TDE's contributions in Duke's fundraising numbers is very misleading, particularly when comparing Duke's numbers to those of other universities. The bottom line is that, in terms of fundraising, TDE is a very nice security blanket for Duke's leadership.

Given the recessionary economy and the real possibility of damaging ( to Duke ) information becoming publicly available in conection with the lacrosse related civil suits, contributions to Duke will most likely be much lower in fiscal 2009 than in 2008.


Bob Wilson MA '88 said...

Anon 8:16 wants names? Here's one who has publicly said he won't contribute to Duke while Brodhead is president.

Bob Wilson MA '88