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S.S. KRESGE – OUR KIND OF GUY


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A SILVER YEAR
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Campaign News

ISENBERG SCHOOL
LANDS KRESGE
GRANT

GENEROUS PEOPLE:
RANDOLPH AND
CECILE BROMERY

 

 

 

Isenberg School lands Kresge - UMass' first

Illustration: ISOM addition

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 wasn’t 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 school’s 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, UMass’s director of foundation relations, who piloted the proposal through a lengthy and exacting review process with help from Dukette, SOM Dean Thomas O’Brien, Vice Chancellor Royster Hedgepeth, and Chancellor David Scott.

     “They’re very persnickety,” said Koch of the Kresge Foundation, one of the few that awards grants for capital improvements. “But you know you’re doing well when they keep asking for more information about your project.”

– Ben Barnhart


S.S. Kresge -
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 were commonplace.

     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.

– B.B.

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