Isenberg School lands Kresge - UMass' first
|Meeting the challenge: Thanks
in part to the Kresge Foundation's $850,000 "bricks and mortar"
grant, construction will begin this fall on the Alfond Management
Center at the Isenberg School of Management.
That cheering you heard
coming from the Isenberg School of Management in January wasnt for
the New Year, it was for news of an $850,000 grant awarded by the Kresge
Foundation: the first in UMass history. Designed to spur the schools
already-successful fundraising machine, the grant challenges SOM to raise
$5 million before June 2001, boosting the capital campaign toward its
$26 million goal.
News of the grant buoyed fundraising efforts
immediately: When accounting professor Ron Mannino heard of the award,
he gave SOM director of development Diane Dukette a $1,000 donation the
very next morning.
Illustrating the snowball effect of good
fundraising, the Kresge challenge grant itself completes a challenge by
Eugene 50 and Ronnie Isenberg to raise $12 million for the construction
of a new building wing. In 1997, the Isenbergs earmarked two-thirds of
a record $6 million gift for the new addition, challenging the state and
the campus to match the funds. The new Harold Alfond Management Center
will include a real-time stock-market study facility, distance-learning
technology, a student center, case rooms, and interview rooms for recruiters.
Groundbreaking is set for October of this year.
Besides a financial windfall, says Dukette,
the Kresge grant represents a highly respected stamp of approval for the
school, its programs, and its fundraising potential. The application was
submitted in July 1999 by Deborah Koch, UMasss director of foundation
relations, who piloted the proposal through a lengthy and exacting review
process with help from Dukette, SOM Dean Thomas OBrien, Vice Chancellor
Royster Hedgepeth, and Chancellor David Scott.
Theyre very persnickety,
said Koch of the Kresge Foundation, one of the few that awards grants
for capital improvements. But you know youre doing well when
they keep asking for more information about your project.
Our Kind of Guy
The Kresge Foundation
was created in 1924 with an initial gift of $1.3 million from Sebastian
S. Kresge. The rags-to-riches retailer and businessman was widely-known
as a frugal penny-pincher, but employed a progressive management style
throughout his dime-store chain. Although Kresge was a multimillionaire,
he drove a dilapidated automobile and shopped for bargains in his own
stores. He was generous with others, however, providing sick leave, paid
holidays, profit sharing, and pensions to his employees before such practices
Kresge happily watched many of his managers
become wealthy working in his stores, which evolved into the K-Mart chain.
Seems fitting that a foundation whose namesake started with little, lived
a simple and thrifty life, and donated much of his wealth to help
human progress, would find our humble land-grant institution and
its public mission worthy of a Kresge grant.