Be a part of the celebration.

We are excited to connect with the College of Charleston community both near and far through the 250th anniversary. We would love your thoughts about how to celebrate our sestercentennial. Please email us at with your ideas about what should be included in the celebration, and please share your affiliation with the College.

Call for big fundraising ideas

College of Charleston will conduct a fundraising initiative aligned with the 250th Anniversary Celebration, scheduled to kick off in November of 2019. A critical component of a successful fundraising initiative is the generation of big ideas that represent audacious, forward-thinking programs and projects that will keep the College at the forefront of academia and position us for continued success for many years to come. These big ideas will come from faculty and staff at all levels and should embody the characteristics listed below:

Necessary criteria

  • Align to the College’s 250th Anniversary theme: History. Made. Here.
  • Demonstrate measurable outcomes.
  • Have support from the College’s leadership.

Recommended criteria

  • Have a feasible funding model
  • Elevate the College’s profile
  • Be relatable/have broad appeal
  • Attract students and make our graduates more competitive

Although there are no specific requirements regarding Bold Ideas budgets, we encourage projects with budgets that range from $100,000 to $1 million or more. Projects and ideas should not be:

  • Defined solely by a capital project or a naming opportunity.
  • Projects that are narrow in scope or represent operating expenses bundled together.
  • Unsustainable beyond initial funding – e.g., projects must either leverage existing resources or demonstrate success that would likely garner continued institutional budgetary support beyond the initial funding period.

The College has convened a 250th Anniversary Fundraising Committee that is comprised of faculty and staff representatives. This committee will review initials submissions for big fundraising ideas, hear pitches, provide feedback, and rank order ideas by apparent readiness to present to donor investors. The committee will submit this rank-ordered list to executive leadership for review and input before the list is submitted to President Hsu in early June.

What is a “Big Idea?”
Submission Form
Fundraising Committee

What is a “Big Idea?”


According to Education Advisory Board (EAB) research, higher education fundraising has outpaced all other causes over the past decade, but it is not a given that the trend will continue, as a generational and attitudinal shift is afoot in the world of philanthropy. A new breed of philanthropist has emerged that EAB has been calling “donor investor.”

Donor investors are interested in solving large-scale problems, they seek “transformational ideas with world-changing impact,” and they enjoy forming deep connections with faculty or staff conducting the work.

In order to appeal to these philanthropists, the College needs to identify, prioritize and categorize big ideas that academic and administrative leaders can support and champion to bring more resources to the institution.

To help the College successfully identify big ideas from across campus, structure is needed to define what is (and what isn’t) a big idea; the process by which ideas will be identified and vetted; and next steps toward raising funds for those ideas that are ultimately selected and prioritized for action.


Below are some of the criteria collected during a session with the deans and development officers during an on-site visit from EAB that can serve as a starting point.

A big idea…

  • Aligns to the College’s 250th Anniversary theme: History. Made. Here.
  • Demonstrates measurable outcomes.
  • Has support from the College’s leadership.
  • Has a feasible funding model
  • Elevates the College’s profile
  • Is relatable/have broad appeal
  • Attracts students and make our graduates more competitive

A big idea is not…

  • Defined solely by a capital project or a naming opportunity.
  • An interesting project that is narrow in scope or that represents operating expenses bundled together.


Date Task
Feb 08 Call for big fundraising ideas
Mar 31 Submission deadline
Apr 1 – Apr 15 Fundraising Committee reviews submissions and provides feedback
Apr 15 – Apr 30 Fundraising Committee invites top ideas to present
May 10 Final list submitted to Executive Leadership
Jun 01 Big Fundraising Ideas presented to President Hsu
Summer 2019 Feasibility testing with donors
AY2020 – AY2021 Tentative project launch dates (funding for projects will be available subject to donor interest and investment)

Submission Form

Please note that this submission form is designed for faculty and staff only.

Submit Your “Big Idea”!


The Rise of the Donor Investor
This web conference will equip participants with knowledge and data about today’s principal and transformational gift donors in order to effectively make the case for investment in your institution.

Sustainably Sourcing Big Ideas
This web conference will equip participants with tools and tips to design and implement a big ideas process, determine fundraising priorities, and build bridges between advancement and the academic enterprise.

Communicating the Impact of Big Ideas
This web conference will equip participants to engage faculty in translating their ideas into terms for non-experts and to model gift impact for data-driven donors.

250th Anniversary Fundraising Committee

  • Cathy Mahon ‘80, Vice President, Development
  • Carin Jorgensen, Executive Director, Stewardship and Donor Relations
  • Dr. Gibbs Knotts, Department Chair, Political Science
  • Dr. Edward Hart, Department Chair, Music
  • Marijana Boone ‘01, MPA ‘03, Executive Director, Advancement Services