by Brooke Bunch
“Fundraiser” could be Susan
Blanchard’s middle name.
For Blanchard, the assistant
dean for development at OU-COM, soliciting money for the
university’s medical school is second nature. Blanchard, who
worked for more than a decade as a development professional at
Ohio State University, helped to raise a record-high $3.5
million during the Ohio University Bicentennial Campaign.
She recently took a moment out
of a busy day to talk about her career at the college and her
passion for fundraising.
What brought you here to
Blanchard: I was drawn
to OU-COM five years
ago, mostly because I was looking for a better quality of life,
but I still wanted to practice my profession at a premier
organization. Ohio University and OU-COM impressed me from the
very start and have truly fit the
bill. The college is an institution that I can get my
arms around and feel like I am making a difference. I enjoy
making my unique contribution to the good of the order.
How much do you raise in a
We’ve raised an average of
$800,000 a year over the last five years.
How are the funds used?
Our donors have given to
several high-priority areas, including funding a chair in
diabetes and cardiovascular research, and 11 new scholarship
funds. Decisions about where contributions are used are totally
determined by the donor’s intentions. About 99.9 percent of all
donors know, from the very first conversations, the areas where
they want their contributions to have an impact. It can be
anything from the Learning Resource Center to a special project
like the Chip Rogers Tribute.
How has your area’s role
changed over the years?
We have a greater focus on
major gifts; we’ve enhanced the alumni direct mail program
significantly and are
increasing the number of one-on-one contacts. Now that we are
approaching OU-COM’s first 25th class reunion (Class
of 1980), reconnecting with our maturing alumni is critical to
the college’s long-term future. I also believe that closely
partnering faculty and staff in fundraising efforts is
We just finished the university
Bicentennial Campaign. OU-COM raised $3.5 million — more than
the college had ever raised in a similar period of time. The
next step is to continue the momentum that’s been built up over
the last couple of years and move into the next campaign with an
even stronger volunteer and alumni base.
What do you like most about
I enjoy building
relationships with our existing donors and cultivating future
donors. And, Jack Brose is a great dean to work with. Bringing
the faculty and donors together for the purpose of advancing the
college is a real honor and privilege for me; it’s very
satisfying. Fundraising, in many ways, is a visionary process.
The money raised lays a foundation for achieving the college’s
goals and mission. That’s really what it’s all about.
What do you like most about
Blanchard: I love the
family “feel” of OU-COM, OU and, really, the whole Athens
care and are not only willing, but actually excited, to
help each other on so many levels, professionally and
personally. Again, I
like being part of a place I can put my arms around and truly
embrace. I feel like I’m doing that everyday here.
What are some things you
enjoy outside OU-COM?
Well, I’m a mentor, which is
very fulfilling. Having a positive impact on our students’ lives
is a kick. If you are wondering why, just ask my three
twenty-something children: I’m still mentoring them whether they
want it or not! I volunteer for a
national dog rescue organization, have a passion for metal
smithing and really enjoy living in the country. I get
the best of both worlds, because my work frequently takes me to
metropolitan communities, but I get to live in this wonderful,
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