From the inception until the Plaza dedication, the Fundraising Sub-Committee had three simultaneous co-chairs: Betsy Bolding, Sally Drachman Salvatore, and Patricia Taylor. The need for three co-chairs signified the breadth of the contacts the Executive committee deemed necessary to achieve the 2001 goal of raising $1.5 million. Of this amount, half was intended for construction and half for the Women’s Studies endowment. This goal was later increased to $2 million to reflect the number of naming opportunities available in the Plaza design. Women’s Studies had a long history of fundraising; WOSAC regularly raised about $20,000 a year to help support Women’s Studies and had once raised an endowment for a lecture series of $65,000. However, the Plaza project was of a totally different scale. And yet remarkably, most involved in the project didn’t doubt that the goal could be realized. While Dr. Kennedy, as head of Women’s Studies, expressed concerns that the costs might be too high to sustain both construction and the endowment, the project leadership convinced her that the mission of the Plaza was powerful and would lead to success.
The three fundraising co-chairs proved to be a highly powerful combination. Drachman Salvatore is a renowned professional fundraiser at the UA and throughout southern Arizona, whose skills and knowledge are prized by those who have the pleasure of working with her. Bolding has extensive contacts throughout the Arizona political and charitable communities, with a long time commitment to WOSAC, Women’s Studies and women’s rights. As a business executive, Taylor has experience in pulling together large multi-faceted projects, and is well respected throughout the business and Tucson community.
Cognizant of the enormity of the task ahead and knowing how crucial their contacts would be to the project, all members of the Executive Committee attended the fundraising meetings whenever possible. In addition, the fundraising committee had two other regular members, Ann Boice and Lynne Wood, both respected members of the community with a long history of charitable work. Indeed, Lynne Wood became a member of the Executive Committee and the Chair of the Fundraising Sub-Committee in the second phase of the Plaza campaign. Furthermore, Beverly Goodwin from the UA Foundation, Healy, Hnilo and Kennedy also regularly attended and were all deeply involved in the process. Hnilo on her own time took a series of fundraising workshops to become more effective at the task. The committee also had a number of supporters, such as Auslander and Capin, who could not attend regular meetings but offered themselves as resources.
The Plaza’s successful fundraising is due to many factors. First, project members with fundraising experience explicitly shared their knowledge with the entire team. For example, Drachman Salvatore gave a lecture to the Executive Committee highlighting important fundraising strategies. Second, the fundraising committee was diligent about its work, meeting every three weeks, identifying prospects, researching them in order to make the best case to a particular donor, and then soliciting donations. The project team was extraordinarily persistent in approaching people.
Third, the fundraisers tried to implement varied strategies; thus they not only approached women to honor other women, but tried to develop ways to interest men in honoring the important women in their lives. Playing on a popular jewelry campaign, “The Plaza is forever,” became a favorite slogan. In addition, the fundraisers also looked to generate interest outside of Tucson, specifically in Phoenix and Nogales.
Fourth, the committee cultivated the support of key people on campus with the hope that these people would interest others. The campaign received a boost when the project team approached then UA President Likins, who decided to support the Plaza by honoring his wife, Pat Likins. He also went on to honor several other women and initiated a fund to honor Cheryl McGaffic, Barbara Monroe, and Robin Rogers, the three nursing professors who were shot and killed by a student in 2002. The committee also approached college deans to encourage them to honor women in their lives, and they worked to develop strategies to increase the interest and participation of the UA Foundation.
Fifth, the fundraising committee worked with the publicity sub-committee to develop donor cultivation events. Sixth, it also looked to foundations as a source of money. As important as these tactics and strategies were, they only worked because of the contacts of the leadership team and their commitment to cultivating them. Every single member successfully solicited donations. By June 2004 the project team raised $721,055.49, including pledges, which was enough to consider beginning the construction of the Plaza.