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VMI Needs You: Count Me In Campaign Kicks Off May 17


“I understand this is a difficult time for us all. The Alumni Agencies respects that,” said Meade King ’85, VMI Foundation and Keydet Club chief operation officer. “We know, however, that you will appreciate the importance of VMI and its mission – and that the Institute, too, is burdened by the economic effects of this pandemic.”

To continue providing much-needed private support to VMI, the Annual Giving team, representing both the VMI Foundation and the Keydet Club, is launching a monthlong fundraising campaign. The campaign is called Count Me In and begins May 17. The goal is to welcome at least 331 new donors before the campaign closes June 16. This number is to honor the 331 graduating 1st Class cadets in the Class of 2020.

The Class of 2020 has not had the traditional spring activities 1st Class cadets normally experience. The VMI Alumni Agencies wants these newest VMI alumni to know that the alumni network will always support the Corps.

The campaign, which is open to participation from all alumni, “is a fantastic opportunity for reunion committee members to check up on BRs and encourage them to both honor the Class of 2020 and to support VMI,” said T.J. Lighton ’15, reunion giving officer. “The Count Me In campaign is a great tool for classes to boost participation leading up to their reunions.”

The Annual Giving team reached out to VMI alumni over the past few weeks, and the outreach will continue during the campaign via social media and email. During this interactive campaign, alumni are making videos and acting as advocates to encourage BRs and fellow alumni to participate and be counted.

Though many may not be considering philanthropy after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted schedules and economies worldwide, VMI still needs support. In fact, the Institute needs alumni support more than ever. That reality is so apparent to an alumnus in the Class of 1965 that he has anonymously offered an incentive of some $100,000. More donors and the resources they provide are needed in order to see VMI through this crisis. The hope is that his example will encourage many more join this effort. The resources are powerfully helpful.

Every year, around 25% of VMI’s budget comes from private donations. These donations take up the slack where the commonwealth of Virginia’s funding ends. These funds pay for scholarships, cadet and faculty research, lab equipment, operating costs, help with some building projects, and raise faculty salaries.

It’s easy, however, to think VMI doesn’t need help.

Post looks amazing. There are new facilities. Ongoing construction is improving existing structures. Bright, dedicated faculty are teaching and mentoring. Headlines consistently tout VMI’s accolades in academic rankings. Cadets are awarded fellowships and work on cutting-edge research.

“There is a misconception today when people come on post,” said Steve Hupp ’84, VMI Foundation president. “They’re so impressed with all that has gone on in the last 10 years at VMI. And there’s an assumption from that that everything is fine and that VMI has all the money that it needs. The reality is that is not the case.”

The Count Me In campaign aims to continue vital private support through alumni generosity while also honoring the Class of 2020. The campaign will be largely run through a crowdfunding site called GiveCampus, previously used for the 2019 Day of Giving. There, alumni will be able to see overall participation numbers, and the number of donors by class and class participation goals.

“I ask [all] alumni to consider some type of giving. Not just through time and effort, but also through resources. It doesn’t have to be a lot – just from the heart,” said Asa Page ’79, VMI Alumni Association president.

Gen. Peay and Col. Wanovich reviewing parade

Do you want to be an early supporter?

Count Me In
  • Molly Rolon

    Molly Rolon Editorial Specialist