Last Call: Fiscal Year 2021 Fundraising

Cadets receiving rifle instruction.

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Thanks to many generous supporters, VMI is well resourced for today and the future. Private support accounts for 25% of the Institute’s annual budget. Donations to the Foundation Fund and the Keydet Club Scholarship Fund make up the largest part of the annual giving budget. These provide the Institute leadership agility to enhance the academic, athletic, and Corps life experiences of our cadets.

This past academic year brought many challenges. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic following a year cut short were only the beginning. Many of VMI’s usual donors experienced financial challenges, resulting in conservative responses to the standard fundraising campaigns. Cancellation or postponement of fall athletics and other events stifled normally predictable income sources. While the cost of travel was reduced, so was the income received through ticket sales.

In a typical year, VMI’s fundraising activities consist of a handful of predictable elements: A day of giving, crowdfunding campaigns, a phone-a-thon, reunion fundraising corresponding with on-site parade-worthy events, and athletics competitions. Mail campaigns are one of the leading sources of funding to VMI. Fiscal Year 2021 was disrupted by the obvious impact of COVID-19 and the state’s review of VMI’s diversity and inclusion practices.

The financial needs of VMI carry on: Cadets are still studying and learning at VMI, and early decision admissions are 7.5% higher than last year. In academic year 2019-20, 50% of cadets received some type of support through generosity like yours. VMI hires the best and brightest talent to educate the next generation of leaders. Corps life continues. It is even more critical this year—a year with fewer privileges, fewer in-person classes, fewer athletic competitions, and fewer military training opportunities.

The need for scholarship dollars has not gone away simply because the events have ceased. The cost of the highest quality education is not reduced. VMI’s need to be even more creative in its approach to maintaining its adversarial system while keeping time with the limitations of the surrounding circumstances only increases the need for private support.

Time is short. The Alumni Agencies staff is working hard, but still has a long way to go to achieve fundraising goals. The future is uncertain—but then, it always has been.

This, though, is certain: VMI alumni and friends are loyal and faithful to the Institute. Thank you for supporting VMI in the past, and thank you in advance for ensuring that fundraising finishes well June 30, 2021.

VMI needs your support. Your generosity makes today’s VMI possible.