Director of Development Kelleigh Smith Focuses on Park Scholarships’ Fundraising Goals

On January 26, Kelleigh Smith joined NC State’s University Advancement team as director of development with a special focus on advancing the fundraising goals of both the Park Scholarships and Caldwell Fellows programs. Smith will provide direction for both programs’ comprehensive fundraising efforts, and is responsible for attracting major gifts from alumni, friends, industry, private foundations, and other philanthropic partners.

Kelleigh Smith, Director of Development
Kelleigh Smith, Director of Development

Smith, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, brings to NC State more than sixteen years of development experience, much of which has centered on securing major gifts. Most recently, Kelleigh was with the UNC Arts and Sciences Foundation, where she closed roughly $12 million in commitments during her last four years. She also gained relevant professional experience with the WakeMed Foundation, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and the Alliance for Lupus Research.

Smith, who reports to assistant vice chancellor for university development Steve Clark, holds an office in Winslow Hall; however, she will spend significant time traveling and building relationships with key stakeholders.

Join us in welcoming her to the Park Scholarships community!

Opportunities for Supporting Park Scholarships

When the Park Foundation announced its $50 million gift to the Park Scholarships in September 2013 – the largest single gift in NC State’s history – they planted the seed of an endowment. The university is striving to raise $35 million over the next few years, and then an additional $35 million to complete funding of the endowment and sustain the program with about 50 scholars per cohort in perpetuity. Donors like the ones featured below are committed to ensuring that the Park Scholarships program continues to grow and evolve for generations to come.

One Scholarship, in Full

Each spring in conjunction with NC State’s commencement exercises, the graduating Park Scholars come together at the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center for a graduation gala. In addition to congratulating the new alumni on their numerous accomplishments, Park Scholarships director Eva Feucht invites them and their families to consider a challenge: to repay the investment made in them, in full, over the course of their lifetimes by giving back to the Park Scholarships program.

An anonymous donor recently became the first to accept this challenge by making a one-time gift of $82,450 – the full value of the award received – to the Park Scholarships Sustaining Endowment.

The donor indicated that this generous gift, while a symbol of gratitude for a rich, meaningful undergraduate experience, is also intended to serve as inspiration to others contemplating ways to give back.

Shares to Share

NC State welcomes support for the Park Scholarships through a variety of channels other than cash gifts; for example, gifts of securities, such as stocks and bonds, real estate and retirement assets offer donors the benefits of bypassing capital gains taxes and providing income tax deductions.

Since earning a B.S. in computer science, Ben Darnell ‘02 has been immersed in the tech industry on both the West and East Coasts, most recently founding a startup based on an open-source distributed database. He began his tenure at Google shortly after graduating from NC State, when the company was still in its early years. Describing his work at Google as “the core of my career so far,” Darnell partially credits his preparation for this foundational professional experience to his fellow Park Scholars, whose diverse passions and perspectives brought him out of his programming bubble. For this reason, Darnell gifted 40 of his shares of stock to the Park Scholarships Sustaining Endowment.

Family Endowments

A small number of families – the Cagley and Confrey/Maloney families, to name two – have established their own endowments in support of the Park Scholarships program. Endowments strengthen the Park Scholarships by contributing to a source of stable, long-term support for general program needs or specialized activities. NC State’s base level for endowment creation is $25,000. While some families found this price tag daunting, initially, they worked with University Advancement staff to identify methods – such as five-year pledges and employer gift-matching – to elevate their giving to this level.

If you are interested in learning more about endowments and other opportunities for supporting the Park Scholarships, contact director of development Kelleigh Smith.

posted 2015.02.27