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Leaders in Annual Giving: Jump-Starting Good Ideas
As a consistent donor and energetic volunteer for the school, Bret Hewitt, MBA '85, demonstrates the commitment of alumni who are the lifeblood of the Leaders in Annual Giving program at the GSB. Year in and year out, Hewitt's consistent, unrestricted support of the school provides flexible funding. He notes, "I understand the power of endowed gifts, but I also understand how important my annual unrestricted giving is to the school and the dean to use it however it is most needed." He adds with a smile, "And that's coming from a guy whose firm works with institutional endowments!"
As an integral part of the school's impact during The Stanford Challenge, supporters like Hewitt made up the more than 12 percent of all donors to the campaign who consistently gave to the school in each of its five years. By helping transform the GSB by jump-starting good ideas, these steadfast supporters have brought about the many dramatic, tangible results that are evident throughout the school—whether that be filling the gap to recruit and encourage rising faculty stars, supporting admissions and alumni events around the world, providing new career management services for students and alumni, or enabling a level of risk taking to initiate new programs that would otherwise simply not be possible.
Hewitt's enthusiasm for the school comes through in his tireless efforts that benefit current students and faculty as well as fellow alumni. By volunteering his time and energy for his reunions, he has become a seasoned pro in bringing his classmates together to support the school. He also currently serves as a class agent. Based in Arlington, Va., as a managing director at Cambridge Associates, he observes, "While I may be physically far from the Stanford campus, the opportunity to volunteer for the GSB in a variety of different ways keeps me current on all the new things that are going on at the business school. I love keeping my classmates in the loop and encouraging them to continue taking an active part in the school today."
As a group, Leaders in Annual Giving represent the top 14 percent of donors who make unrestricted annual and reunion gifts of $2,500 or more per year. Taken together, this leadership group of donors provides nearly 85 percent of the school’s unrestricted funding. Donors at this level receive distinct recognition in the school's annual honor roll of donors and special GSB mailings and reports.
There can be no doubt that the collective generosity of alumni and friends in celebration of reunions and through unrestricted annual gifts sends a powerful signal throughout the GSB community. Given that tuition and fees cover less than half the cost of providing an MBA education, annual gifts are critical in making up the difference. In fact, the financial model of the school depends each year on more than 50 percent of its operating revenues coming from the dedicated commitment of alumni such as Hewitt.