Advancing Philanthropy October 2020 - 54

Fundraising Through Crisis

© Photo: D'Youville

C

OVID-19 disrupted charitable organizations across
the globe. Though the full impact on nonprofits is yet
to be known, we must be bold, purposeful and strategic
to navigate this moment. Colleges and universities-like
all nonprofits-have felt the impact. Campuses are like a
microcosm of society, and universities must often address
issues mirroring what is happening globally. COVID-19
came at a time when higher education was already facing
mounting pressure and unstable markets. Despite this, one
university has been able to triumph and make an impact,
and hopes to provide nonprofits with insights on how to
manage the rest of 2020 and beyond.
The story begins in Buffalo, N.Y.-the City of Good
Neighbors-where a traditionally blue-collar, industrial
community began to re-envision itself and saw a
major influx of young, diverse professionals seeking
opportunity. Enter D'Youville, a nationally-ranked
institution headquartered on Buffalo's diverse West Side,
serving students in-seat and online globally. Rooted in its
foundresses' mission to "never refuse to serve," D'Youville
is known for "building healthy, thriving communities in its
midst," with a deliberate focus on shared prosperity. From
hosting a high school on its campus to expansive community
partnerships and unlimited Say Yes scholarships, to
constructing a multi-million-dollar health clinic in one of

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Advancing Philanthropy	

New York's poorest ZIP codes-social responsibility is in
D'Youville's DNA. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked
the school in the top 100 in the country for social mobility,
which means we successfully enroll, graduate and improve
the economic circumstances of marginalized populations.
Change and innovation are never easy. However,
under the leadership of Lorrie Clemo, Ph.D., the school
moved at lightning speed for four years, accomplishing
"moonshot ideas," such as digitizing experiences,
enhancing services, upgrading facilities, and honing midmanagement for special innovation projects. D'Youville
knew disruption was at the door and that colleges
were closing. Instead of waiting until the scales tipped,
D'Youville began the hard work of change. As a result,
when COVID-19 hit, D'Youville was ready.
This illuminates the first lesson learned. Listen to those
who speak of challenges on the horizon. Plan for them, not
in fear, but as an opportunity. Let emerging trends push you
to innovate before a crisis does. Leo Babauta, blogger and
owner of Zen Habits, captured this concept when he said,
"Do what matters, now." Nonprofits are the lifeblood of our
communities. We must dwindle complexity into a simple
directive: Take on the most important problems today
before they disrupt us tomorrow.
D'Youville's tenacity going head-to-head with disruption
October 2020 / www.afpglobal.org


http://www.afpglobal.org

Advancing Philanthropy October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advancing Philanthropy October 2020

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