That’s a wrap! With more than three months to spare, Northeastern Illinois University has met its annual $500,000 Goodwin Gift Challenge fundraising goal. This philanthropic donation will be matched by Daniel L. Goodwin and will complete his $1.5 million contribution to the challenge.
In total, Goodwin pledged up to $2.5 million to Northeastern. He made an initial $1 million grant to the NEIU Foundation in December of 2014. The remainder of the gift came in the form of the Goodwin Gift Challenge, in which he encouraged others to contribute to the NEIU Foundation by matching gifts up to a total of $500,000 annually through 2018.
“As a new president, I am thrilled to have such an incredible achievement to celebrate so soon after my arrival. The Northeastern community expresses its deepest gratitude to Mr. Goodwin for his generosity and leadership,” said President Gloria J. Gibson, who was inaugurated on Sept. 13. “The achievement of this goal serves as an important reminder that the work we do is worthy of lasting and meaningful support.”
Goodwin, a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University and former Chicago Public Schools science teacher, is the Chairman and CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc., a multibillion-dollar real estate and financial organization headquartered on a 13-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois.
“I want to congratulate the Northeastern community for rising to meet the Challenge,” Goodwin said. “My intention was to inspire in others a commitment to this worthy institution, and I am proud of all that Northeastern has accomplished. As a product of Northeastern, I am very grateful for what the school has done for me.”
Among many firsts with Northeastern, Goodwin was a member of the first freshman class to attend Northeastern at the St. Louis Avenue campus, the first president of the Northeastern student government, the first alumnus to be awarded an honorary doctorate by Northeastern and the first chairman of the Northeastern Board of Trustees.
In recognition of Goodwin’s lifelong involvement and support, Northeastern named a college after an alumnus for the first time in its history. The Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education was dedicated during a ceremony and fundraising kickoff event in January 2016.
During the Goodwin Gift Challenge, donors had an opportunity to identify their gifts, no matter the designation or size within the NEIU Foundation, as counting toward the Goodwin Gift Challenge in the annual race to reach $500,000. Goodwin’s total commitment of $2.5 million will be distributed three ways:
- To endow the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education Scholarship Fund to benefit undergraduate and graduate students.
- To endow the Daniel L. Goodwin Dean’s Program Fund to purchase teaching materials and other resources to enhance student learning, support faculty development, establish graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships, and to enhance the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education’s programs.
- To establish the Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series Fund to provide expendable support to hire well-respected individuals to deliver instruction in conferences, seminars and major lectures.
“The lasting impact of the Goodwin Gift Challenge extends far beyond the numbers,” Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education Dean Sandra Beyda-Lorie said. “The value of providing our students with additional scholarship opportunities, enhanced educational resources and world-renowned speakers is immeasurable. The positive influence of this groundbreaking effort will be felt—and appreciated—for years to come.”
In total, more than 2,000 donors opted in to the Goodwin Gift Challenge, and the largest gift was $100,000.
“The Goodwin Gift Challenge inspired hundreds of first-time donors, most of whom are committed to the cause for the long term,” said Liesl Downey, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the NEIU Foundation. “This effort has established a new baseline for what Northeastern can accomplish when we come together.”
Established in 1969, the NEIU Foundation functions as an independent Illinois not-for-profit foundation whose corporate mission is to advance the interests and welfare of the University. The foundation publicly launched its first fundraising campaign, Transforming Lives, in early 2017. After reaching the $10 million goal with 11 months to spare, Northeastern stretched the goal to $12 million by the end of 2018. Goodwin serves as a co-chair of the campaign.
The foundation is the official fundraising and private gift-receiving agency for Northeastern. The primary functions of the foundation are to develop private support on behalf of the University, to promote the University’s mission and to receive and administer contributions. In this way, the foundation plays a vital role in ensuring that the University remains highly affordable, while retaining the highest academic standards. Private contributions, when added to state resources, add an extra dimension of support that otherwise would not be possible.