By Rachel Popa
Donald E. Jones, a development executive with experience in fundraising, has been appointed Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Roosevelt University. Jones currently works as the Executive Vice President for Institutional Advancement for the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he raised over $220 million for the school since 2002.
According to a statement from the university, Jones is scheduled to start in his new position in late April. When he gets to Roosevelt, Jones said that he plans on getting to know the faculty first, and then wants to work on educating them on how the process of fundraising works.
“What I found during the search is that Don was exceptionally good at listening,” said Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, elaborating on what he thought were good qualities in a candidate for the position. “Once you listen to people’s stories, it’s amazing what they tell you.”
Malekzadeh said that after Jones evaluates the university and what it needs, then they will develop a plan for how the Department of Fundraising should reach out to alumni and other organizations.
People, including students and faculty, are what come first in terms of fundraising goals, which includes raising money in order to provide more scholarships to Roosevelt students in an attempt to keep tuition as low as possible, according to Malekzadeh.
However, in February, it was announced that tuition is going to increase by three percent for the 2016-17 school year starting in the fall.
Malekzadeh said that tuition makes up about 85 percent of RU’s income, and the other 15 percent is from fundraising programs and grants.
Jones said that one of the ways he wants to increase the amount of money the university brings in is by changing the university’s “appeal,” or goal, from a general one, to one that is centered around providing scholarships.
Reaching out to alumni and asking them to donate their time and money to the university is one of the plans Malekzadeh and Jones said they are looking to focus on in order to bring in more money for scholarships.
However, Jones said that students can get involved with fundraising at the university as well by working in the call center, helping out by buying books for the library or establishing a scholarship fund.
Malekzadeh said that there will be more scholarships available next year, but could not say for certain how much they would be for, or exactly how many there will be.
When asked about the potential challenges involved with raising money at a private, nonprofit university, Jones said that he would rather focus on the opportunities of fundraising instead of the setbacks involved.
“It’s more about the opportunity at Roosevelt, rather than the challenges,” he said.