Alumni, Parents, and Friends: Supporting the VMI Mission

Corps of Cadets in formation on parade ground.

VMI is celebrating a victory, thanks to the earnest support of the VMI family. Fiscal Year 2021—that period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021—was a successful year of fundraising, and there is much to be grateful for in the continued support of the education and training of current and future cadets. Despite the many changes on post, an unexpected change in leadership, cancellation of most alumni events, and cadets being sequestered in barracks for most of the year, support for VMI remained strong.
By the close of the fiscal year, the VMI Foundation and the VMI Keydet Club combined to issue receipts totaling $27 million from more than 5,100 donors. Central to the celebration is the VMI Alumni Agencies meeting all of its obligations to the Institute. This annual commitment to the VMI mission directly and indirectly spans the depth and breadth of the VMI experience, including academic facilities and equipment, NCAA athletic scholarships and programs, the unique military method of education, excellence in leadership training, and the scholarship support necessary to bring in the best and the brightest cadets from across the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation.

For many years—and FY 2021 was no exception—private money has constituted roughly one-quarter of the Institute’s annual operating budget. Even more important are the positive effects of this support. Wherever you see a cadet—in the classroom, on an athletic field, on parade, in barracks, on the obstacle course—you see private money at work because the Institute uses it to achieve and sustain excellence in every aspect of the remarkable experience that is a VMI education. All donors are important to VMI because every donation supports cadets.

Embracing the idea of leadership in support of VMI were 277 Annual Giving donors who gave at levels that qualified them for places in the Institute Society and the leadership of the VMI Keydet Club. As fortunate as VMI is to have so many leadership donors, it is equally fortunate to have many more who give smaller gifts. In fact, 2,200 of the 3,900 FY 2021 Annual Giving donors gave less than $500. The importance of these gifts cannot be understated—every dollar given to VMI matters.

Additionally, the Foundation Fund and the Keydet Club Scholarship Fund—the two components of VMI Annual Giving—received $6.7 million from generous and loyal donors. It is worth noting that both funds enjoyed their second-highest years ever.

It would take an additional $150 million in endowment funds to secure the same $6.7 million VMI receives in Annual Giving. This demonstrates the power of smaller gifts and the importance of the alumni and friends who make them.

The VMI Alumni Agencies thanks the more than 5,100 members of the VMI family who participated in the effort to raise private financial support for the nation’s finest college and finest students. These alumni and friends made a profound difference to the future of VMI and the lives of cadets for generations to come.

However, there is still more work to be done to achieve a stronger core of donors within the VMI family. Last year, fewer alumni, parents, and friends came forward in support of VMI and its time-tested form of education. The number of donors declined overall, and alumni participation dropped from 28% in FY 2020 to 22% in FY 2021. Meade King ’85, VMI Foundation chief operating officer, suggests the following: “The decision of whether or not to support current and future cadets should reside soundly in the advantages of the VMI education, the lifelong friendships, the strength of the diploma, and the belief in the importance of honor and integrity in our country. The benefits of a VMI diploma are evident. We are humbled by the loyal alumni, family, and friends who stake their claim in support of the mission. We hope for future cadets that the ‘Never Say Die’ motto continues to grow the resounding vote of confidence for the purpose of the VMI for years to come.”

  • Scott Belliveau

    Scott Belliveau '83 Communications Officer - Executive Projects

    The communications officer supports the strategy for all communications, including web content, public relations messages and collateral pieces in order to articulate and promote the mission of the VMI Alumni Agencies and promote philanthropy among varied constituencies.