The Situation

Walla Walla University was founded in 1892 on Christian teachings and values as understood and appreciated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Committed to excellence in thought, the University seeks to impart a broad knowledge of the arts, sciences and professions by careful instruction and open inquiry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Today, Walla Walla University educates about 1,400 students with an ethnic diversity of 49% on four campuses: its main campus in College Place, Washington; a School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon; and Schools of Social Work and Sociology in Missoula and Billings, Montana. At the initiation of this chapter of work, the university was interested in advancing their ability to serve students in programs and increasing access to educational resources overall.

The Goal

To launch a successful fundraising campaign for three major mission-critical transformations.

The Approach

Walla Walla University retained Alford Group in 2014 to complete a feasibility study of a campaign to fund a variety of mission-critical campus priorities. Alford Group recommended that Walla Walla University move forward with a $35 million comprehensive capital and endowment campaign focusing on the following projects:

  • Transforming Bowers Hall from top to bottom to provide a modernized home for the School of Business
  • Increasing the University’s endowment to make a WWU education accessible to more students and enable a low- or no-debt trajectory after graduation
  • Establishing a new Student Life & Ministry Center to serve as the University’s “living room” and bring together all non-curricular aspects of college life into one modern, welcoming facility

The Outcome

Alford Group’s guidance and counsel helped Walla Walla University develop a solid campaign plan and implement tailored campaign strategies for its Life. Changing. campaign. A few of the outcomes:

  • The University completed the transformation of Bowers Hall, exceeding the $4 million goal for that project.
  • It far exceeded its $5 million endowment goal with gifts and commitments of more than $10 million and has raised more than $38 million for the entire Life. Changing. campaign to date.
  • This success represents more than double the amount raised during the University’s prior capital campaign and has heightened the culture of philanthropy across campus.
  • Faculty, students and staff now have a greater appreciation for the importance of philanthropy and the difference it makes for the University today and decades into the future.

Alford Group is honored to continue to partner with the University to help provide excellent education and first-rate facilities for students from across the United States and beyond.