An alleged child-rapist and an admitted child-rapist are in the news again. Both news stories involve large sums of money.
The first news item concerns former Penn State Football Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the University’s year-end fundraising efforts. (You can read my first blog post about Sandusky and Penn State: “Tragic Lessons of the Penn State Fiasco.”) While I hope you never have to cope with such a heinous crisis in your professional life, you will, unfortunately, be likely to find yourself dealing with at least one major challenge during your career. The Penn State situation is instructive.
The second news item concerns famed movie director Roman Polanski and his recently released film Carnage. At the end of this post, I’ll very briefly discuss the idea of not enriching this admitted child rapist through the purchase of a movie ticket.
On November 5, 2011, in the midst of the prime year-end fundraising season, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly and State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced the results of a grand jury investigation that led to Sandusky being charged with sexually abusing eight boys. Two Penn State officials were also charged with related crimes though neither was directly involved in the abuse. A total of four Penn State officials either resigned or were fired within days of the release of the grand jury report including living legend, Coach Joe Paterno.
Penn State has been working to deal with the various challenges resulting from the Sandusky mess. The development staff has had the monumental task of having to continue to raise money for Pennsylvania’s flagship public university.
An Associated Press report has revealed, “‘The overwhelming majority of [Penn State’s] leading donors have made public statements affirming their faith in the University and its future,’ according to the University’s talking points. The document named a couple who gave $88 million to launch an NCAA ice hockey program, and another who endowed the position of head football coach. Both the number of donors and number of gifts to Penn State increased in November, compared with the same month a year earlier. Total donations to Penn State were $3.1 million in November, compared to $1.1 million in November 2010, according to the University. Another positive sign for Penn State was [December’s] announcement of a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor to bridge engineering research projects with other fields of study.”
A year-end annual fund appeal provides some insight into how the development staff is handling the fundraising challenge. Garvin Maffett, EdD, Executive Consultant at INJOY and a Penn State alumnus, received an annual fund email appeal in December from the University. He posted the appeal on LinkedIn at the CFRE International Network Group. If you’re a CFRE and would like to see the reaction the posting received, go to LinkedIn and subscribe to the Group. The responses have been generally constructive and supportive.
Here is the Penn State appeal from Dec. 19 as posted by Maffett:
The recent allegations against former and current Penn State employees have shaken our community to its core. But the University’s central mission to educate the leaders of tomorrow is as important now as ever before. We are 96,000 students, 46,000 employees, and more than half a million alumni. We are a university committed to providing educational opportunities and improving the lives of our students and communities. We are Penn State.
The University, led by our newly appointed president, Rodney A. Erickson, is working to repair the trust of the Penn State community and the nation. We are pursuing an aggressive, independent investigation of the allegations and a reevaluation of the University’s protocols and procedures, and have promised to share the results with the public. In addition, the President will be appointing a University-wide ethics officer to ensure we continue to meet the moral standards our institution has long represented.
We recognize that this is also an opportunity to increase awareness at the societal level about the devastating impact of sexual abuse. At the heart of these accusations is the issue of child abuse, and, as members of a leading research institution, we believe we can do much to bring awareness and change. To begin these efforts, Penn State is establishing the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children. The center, which will be located at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, will bring together clinicians, scientists, legal scholars, and educators to improve the detection, treatment, and prevention of child maltreatment. In addition, the University has partnered with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and has committed $1.5 million of our share of this year’s Big Ten bowl proceeds to help fund initiatives with these organizations.
We thank you for your loyalty and dedication to the University, and we ask you to continue to show your support for Penn State. As the University moves forward, we will also be relying upon the leadership of alumni like you, who represent all that’s best about Penn State in your own communities every day. There’s never been a more important time for Penn Staters to stand up for the values and the institution that we believe in. By remaining focused on the work of our students and faculty and the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, we will make Penn State a better, prouder, and stronger university.
Choose to support Penn State; make your gift today.
Ann E. Lehman
Director, Penn State Annual Givingread more »