Limestone University, the Gaffney-based institution founded in 1845, must have major investments in the coming months in order to jumpstart its recovery strategy and pave the way for long-term financial stability.
An initiative to raise $20 million is now underway to provide the financial stability necessary to provide a pathway forward. There is an urgent need to raise at least $10 million prior to June 30.
Limestone officials recently announced a comprehensive restructuring plan aimed at allocating resources to mission-critical services and innovations, while also identifying cost-savings measures and efficiencies.
To resize the University and restructure its budget to make it sustainable, Limestone is developing a multi-year growth blueprint that includes boosts to enrollment, identifying new revenue streams, a stronger academic curriculum, and an emphasis on affordability for its students. To give that plan time to be implemented, Limestone needs immediate and robust financial support.
The goal of $20 million has been set as part of “The Next 175: Today, Tomorrow, & The Next 175” fundraising initiative to provide the resources required for Limestone to endure, prosper, and thrive. Limestone has launched a new website – next175.limestone.edu – to centralize its immediate-need fundraising efforts.
“We have been working diligently to develop a plan that we are confident will enable us to get on stable footing and that will launch us into the future,” said Limestone Interim President Dr. Monica Baloga. “The financial needs at this moment are urgent for this University’s survival. For Limestone to move forward, we must increase our on-campus enrollment and rebuild the strength of our online program aimed at working adults. We’re working on those plans and ideas daily, but in the meantime, we cannot ignore that we have some critical financial needs right in front of us that we must address. With the support of our community and those who love Limestone, it is crucial that we raise $20 million, and hopefully more, by the end of this calendar year and $10 million by the end of June.”
The growth of its Online Program sustained Limestone during a time period when it needed to cultivate on-campus enrollment. In the years that followed, while Limestone’s On-Campus population steadily increased, the Online Program’s financial support waned as more and more institutions began to offer virtual classrooms for adults pursuing degree completion.
“We are in the midst of restructuring our Online Program to provide an even better, high-quality product,” Baloga noted. “I am proud of the steps we have taken to stabilize our online student enrollment, but for Limestone to survive and prosper, we must implement new strategies, and that takes time and resources.”
Limestone’s Board of Trustees Chairman David Riggins said he and his fellow board members are confident in the leadership of Baloga and the management team she has assembled to lead the University through and out of this current situation.
“The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the financial challenges on small liberal arts institutions like Limestone, but we were seeing a decrease in revenues even before then,” Riggins explained. “Dr. Baloga and her administration are taking the necessary steps to operate more efficiently. We can’t change the past, but we can, and will, learn from it, and operate Limestone in a practical and resourceful way. Our long-term strategy is solid, but for those who want to see Limestone continue to make a difference in the lives of its students, urgent financial support is needed right now.
“At a time when other institutions have been growing in large part because of their fundraising efforts, Limestone’s fundraising efforts were not as focused” Riggins added. “We’re taking steps to address fundraising efforts and position them for Limestone’s sustainability and eventual growth. Along with that, we must take the step necessary to make getting a private education at Limestone just as affordable as it is for students attending public institutions.”
Randall L. Richardson, Limestone’s Board Secretary, is spearheading the Trustees’ fundraising strategy that includes visiting with supportive alumni, along with local, state, and national officials, while meeting with potential business, industry, and foundation investors.
“Since 1845, Limestone has survived multiple wars, depressions, recessions, and financial challenges – and every time we have recovered and grown stronger. We’re not about to allow a pandemic, any related issues, and a deficiency of suitable fundraising take away a university that has meant so much to so many.,” Richardson said. “Our path forward is clear, and our leadership team is strong and unwavering. Now we’re counting on all of Saints Nation to answer the call.”
Limestone officials noted that multiple new fundraising projects, as part of “The Next 175: Today, Tomorrow, & The Next 175” initiative, will be announced in the coming days, offering supporters various options to contribute.
For those who are interested in how they can invest in Limestone’s future, email firstname.lastname@example.org.