As the volunteer leaders of the boards of the Alumni Association and the WWU Foundation, we are excited to share with you a new way our two organizations will work together for the betterment of Western. Last spring, President Randhawa asked the Foundation and the Alumni Association to consider the merits of merging and creating one, new nonprofit organization. Soon thereafter, a steering committee – comprised with equal representation from both the Alumni and Foundation Boards, the WWU Provost and a WWU Trustee – began the work of exploring the benefits and weighing the concerns. Guided by a consultant, the steering committee worked through the reasons why this would be of benefit to each organization and ultimately, result in greater service to Western.
The Executive Committees of both boards signed a letter of intent to merge the two organizations into one in July 2022, and just this past December, the membership of both boards voted to proceed with the merger, subject to the approval of Alumni Association members at their annual meeting on March 9. The Boards adopted a plan for the merger that will ensure that the merged organization continues the work of both organizations with a high degree of continuity. The leadership of the new organization will include volunteer leaders of both current organizations. Members of the Alumni Association will continue as members of the merged organization.
One of the most exciting aspects of this change is how our new structure will inspire philanthropy that is inclusive of time, talent, and treasure. University Advancement’s Alumni and Constituent Engagement team is already hard at work in creating even more ways for alumni and donors to become – and remain – actively engaged in the life of Western. Your investment in today’s students only strengthens their experience and enhances the journey toward graduation. A culture of philanthropy is more relevant now and into the future and is vital to the success of WWU. Our newly formed organization will engage anyone who cares about Western Washington University – alumni, fans, parents, art and music lovers, students, friends and community members – through events, programs, activities and opportunities to give back.
One of those upcoming events is Back2B’ham which will take place on campus the weekend of May 19-21. This will be a great opportunity for everyone who loves Western to return home. Whether it’s been two weeks or 20 years since you’ve been on campus, we want to see you here. Days full of activities are being planned including guest speakers, plenty of food and music, a carnival for the kids, professors leading discussions and open houses. Come reconnect with each other, and while in town, enjoy all Bellingham has to offer. We are excited to see you!
Western is a special place, one that we are happy to serve as volunteers. This new chapter is an exciting one for both the Foundation and Alumni boards and we are looking forward to all the ways it will bring us together in support of this great University. We encourage your active participation as well and thank you in advance for all the ways you will impact both teaching and learning at Western. Should you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our Vice President of University Advancement, Kim O’Neill (Kim.O’Neill@wwu.edu or 360.650.2055), or either of us (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). For interested members of the Alumni Association, we will also be happy to provide copies of the proposed plan of merger and the proposed governing documents of the new organization upon request.
We look forward to serving Western Washington University, our alumni, friends and donors now and into the future.
Photo by Luke Hollister