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The Goucher Advancement Division: Supporting College-Wide DEIJ Initiatives

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice > Updates

The Advancement Division consistently aspires to be a leader and collaborator in our Goucher campus community, embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Diversity is embedded in our division goals, ensuring we dedicate ample time to supporting Goucher’s DEIJ efforts and against which we evaluate our efforts and impact. We work with potential donors and volunteers to gain support in three important ways: Treasure, time, and talent.

Raising funds is critical to Goucher’s mission, and we seek funding for college-wide racial equity initiatives, interfaith dialogues, programs impacting students with disabilities and more.

Treasure is important. Many of you may be familiar with some of the priority fundraising projects that have been getting attention over the past several years. The Science Innovation Center and improvements in the equestrian center are the most visible projects. In addition, we have been successful in securing hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to date for several other projects to enable all students to come and find their passion here at Goucher. These projects include the LAUNCH program, The Hallowed Ground Project, scholarship support for student international travel, and mental health support.

Equity and inclusion are essential to our most important Advancement goal – building community. Our division’s diversity focus takes into consideration how our activities support our students, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends. For instance, in concert with faculty and staff, we collaborate to seek funding for a myriad of other important initiatives at Goucher, including:

  • Ongoing support to expand the LAUNCH Scholars Program;
  • The RaMP program – Research and mentoring of post-baccalaureates in the sciences;
  • NSF SSTEM Scholarships – Scholarships for students in the sciences from historically underserved populations;
  • Open educational resources;
  • Addressing financial security on campus;
  • Support for individual faculty research:
    • Sociocultural determinants of nutrition of African Women immigrant youth in the U.S.A.; and
    • The Anthropology of West African Dance.
  • Curricular and co-curricular support, including community outreach and professional development for faculty: The Humanities as Social Justice Learning;
  • Black male student retention;
  • Additional programs we are seeking support for, which include:
    • Technology for visually impaired;
    • A tactile map of campus for the visually impaired;
    • Funding for testing for students from historically underserved populations to see if they need specific learning support; and
    • Intergroup dialogue.

We understand that integrating DEIJ into the framework of fundraising requires a deep understanding of who our donors are and what their experience with Goucher was/is. We remain mindful of not making assumptions about what all prospective donors want to support.

Through professional development to best understand multi-cultural philanthropy and giving trends, we are growing our cultural competency and self-awareness about how we develop relationships with diverse populations. We are also intentional about including donor and impact stories from a wide range of donors in our outreach efforts to ensure authentic representation of the donors and supporters of Goucher initiatives.

In addition, paying great attention to the Treasure component of Advancement, we also focus heavily on Time — our offerings that provide our alumni/ae with opportunities to share their gifts with Goucher and related community programs. Cultivating talent and volunteering are critical to our engagement efforts. Advancement staff are excited to help identify, recruit, and cultivate an increasingly diverse Board of Trustees, as well as Alumni Association of Goucher College members, volunteers, and speakers.

Last spring at the 2023 Alumni Weekend together with the Alumni Association of Goucher College (AAGC), we launched the African American Alumni Affinity Group, led by past president of the Alumnae/i Association Damon Highsmith ’03 and Goucher graduates representing classes from 1979, 1973, and 2010. This is the first of many affinity groups that alumnae/i have expressed interest in starting up. At the 2024 Alumnae/i Weekend, held April 19-21, 2024, we hosted a mixer based on affinity and interests for LGBTQIA, Latinx, men, and more. We are also in the beginning stages of starting a Business Advisory Board where alumni can help shape programs for business students.

It is not always easy to shift our focus between Treasure, Talent and time, and our goal is to do it well. One notable example of a successful shift is the annual Jewell Robinson Dinner, which took place on Friday, February 16, 2024. This year’s dinner marked the 18th Anniversary of the dinner which honors the history and achievements of Goucher’s African American Alumnae/i. This event brings together members and friends of Goucher’s African American community in the spirit of celebration, reflection, and fellowship in honor of Jewell Robinson – actor, writer, producer, and the first African American student admitted to Goucher in 1953. The dinner has grown from a dedicated few alumna to a thriving convening that boasts attendees of 200+ community members in person and virtually.

At this incredibly special event, the Marguerite Barland ’60 Merit Award, created in 2015, is presented annually in honor and celebration of our first African American graduate, Marguerite Barland. This annual award celebrates one or more alumnae/i who in their professional and private life has significantly contributed to the diversity of our campus community through leadership – as a mentor, role model, volunteer, or philanthropic supporter of the college. Throughout their life, this individual will have exemplified Goucher’s Community Principles – respect, inclusion, communication, service and social justice, and responsibility – and by doing so, they will have enhanced and inspired the Goucher community. This year’s recipient was Candace Chance ‘10, ‘12.

New this year, the Advancement team offered and secured sponsorships for the Jewell Robinson Dinner from community funders to help offset the costs of the dinner and provide funding for approximately 20+ in-person student attendees. As the program expands, we hope to attract the interest of more students and young alumnae to carry on this tradition. The Jewell Robinson Dinner is also the key fundraising event for the Imani Fund, which encourages exploration and cross-cultural understanding through supporting the study abroad experience of selected first-generation Goucher students participating in the Goucher LAUNCH Network.

Through our efforts to engage everyone in our community, we hope to involve more alumni and friends in Goucher, activate philanthropy, and measure and see the impact of our collective work to support DEIJ at the institution. Then we can celebrate.