‘Forever Orange’ campaign continues to fundraise


Courtesy of Baker Marketing

Alumni and friends of Baker University attend a gala in downtown Kansas City, Missouri Oct. 13. The event was in celebration of the “Forever Orange” campaign in order to raise funds for the university.

Story by Sarah Day, News Editor

After a year in the making, Baker University hosted its Forever Orange event on Oct. 13 at the Gallery Event Space in the Power and Light District in Kansas City. In all, 298 people attended, including students, alumni, donors, staff and faculty.

Chief of Staff and Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations Danielle Jones Rease said the students and faculty who were invited were deserving of acknowledgment.

“We wanted to invite some students who had won awards or had recognition that prior year as a thank you for their accomplishments,” Jones Rease said. “We also had our deans from each school recommend faculty members who they would like to recognize as well.”

The Forever Orange event was an opportunity to allow people to gather and honor Baker’s legacy while planing for its future. The event also served as a fundraising campaign for the university.

According to President Lynne Murray, the Forever Orange campaign was launched quietly in the Spring of 2016 as a comprehensive campaign with six key priorities.

Scholarships are a vital piece of the fundraising goal since 97 percent of students currently receive funding to help pay for their college.

Capital projects will meet the ever-changing physical landscape of Baker as well as the students’ needs in order to learn and grow.

Endowed professorships advance the university by encouraging excellence in teaching and providing significant opportunities for faculty members.

Student experience and technology promotes learning inside and outside of the classroom as well as hands-on learning.

Endowed plans and gifts provide a future gift to Baker through financial and estate plans.

The Baker Fund allows unrestricted gifts for the university’s most immediate needs, greatest strengths and new opportunities.

“The campaign is really to build the future for Baker University so we can guarantee the same wonderful experiences our students have now for future generations,” Murray said.

Murray said The Sunderland Foundation played a key role in kick-starting the campaign.

“We gained momentum in this campaign through the generosity of the Sunderland Foundation,” Murray said. “They gave for the renovation of Rice Auditorium, which is the face of Baker.”

Jones Rease said the university marketed for the planned-giving portion of the Forever Orange campaign during STAG 2018.

“We had the Gibson Legacy Challenge with banners lining the street with the faces of [alumni] who had already said ‘yes’ [to donating],” Jones Rease said.

At the beginning of the Forever Orange event, the campaign had raised over $16 million from many donors with the goal of reaching $20 million by the spring 2021.

However, another gift, establishing The Swogger Foundation Humanities Professorship and Primary Texts Endowment Fund, arrived on the night of the event, causing the campaign goal to be raised.

“We were able to raise the goal to $28 million because of the generosity of our board members and donors and alumni,” Murray said.

Sophomore Madison Lutgen spoke at the Forever Orange event, explaining what the campaign and resources raised mean to her and why they are important.

“The donations made to Baker University help support scholarships, renovations and innovative educational technology that rank us above everyone else in academics,” Lutgen said. “Because of this, Baker builds young, hard-working leaders.”