At Nebraska Wesleyan University, our faculty work individually with students to identify their passions and help discern a path of study that will lead them to fulfilling careers. Our Advancement team applies the same philosophy to our relationships with donors and foundations. As we raise funds for annual operating expenses, student experiences, and major building renovations, we work with donors to discern their passions and how their gifts to NWU can fulfill their philanthropic priorities. The Advancement team is committed to NWU’s core values, so it all starts with relationships.
Vice President John Greving and former President Fred Ohles had enjoyed getting to know Kent Sunderland and learning more about the decades-long relationship between the Sunderland Foundation and Nebraska Wesleyan. When it was time to raise funds for Phase 1 of the McDonald Theater renovation, they knew it was time to reach out to the Sunderland Foundation. The Sunderland Foundation, established by the original owner of Kansas-based Ash Grove Cement Company, awards grants to nonprofits for capital improvements. They have contributed to Acklie Hall of Science, renovations to Pioneer Hall and the campus entrance at 53rd and Madison, and even supported the Theatre Department many years ago. With the Foundation’s priorities and longstanding affinity for NWU at the forefront, Director of Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations Tara Gregg crafted a proposal requesting a grant of $1,000,000 to complete Phase 1 and begin Phase 2 of the renovation.
The Sunderland Foundation’s grant, paired with another $100,000 from individual donors given during the university-wide Bold Designs campaign, allowed renovations to begin this April. With campus nearly empty and health precautions in place, Omaha-based architect HDR began their work on seating replacement, stage renovations and mechanical improvements earlier than anticipated.
Because of this grant, the Sunderland Foundation will be inducted into the Cornerstone Society this September at The Black & Gold. The Cornerstone Society recognizes individual and organizational donors who have given at least $1,000,000 to NWU over their lifetime of giving.
We’re excited to work closely with alumni and friends of the University to develop robust and fulfilling relationships based on shared priorities or ideals. If you’re considering a gift of any size to Nebraska Wesleyan, we’d love to work with you to identify how a gift in an area meaningful to you can impact the life of Nebraska Wesleyan University now and for years to come.