Daniel L. Goodwin

Goodwin Gift Challenge reaches first-year fundraising goal

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

With more than a month to spare, Northeastern Illinois University has raised $500,000 in contributions to the NEIU Foundation to meet the first-year goal of the Goodwin Gift Challenge. Those philanthropic donations will be matched by Daniel L. Goodwin for a total contribution of $1 million.

“This is a transformative period in the history of Northeastern Illinois University,” Interim President Richard Helldobler said. “Mr. Goodwin’s goal was to inspire philanthropic support for his alma mater, and the Northeastern community of friends and donors is answering that call when we need them the most. We thank Mr. Goodwin for his extraordinary leadership and generosity, and we look forward to partnering with him for the next two years of the Goodwin Gift Challenge and beyond.”

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, a multibillion-dollar real estate and financial organization headquartered on a 13-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois.

In total, Goodwin has 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 comes in the form of the Goodwin Gift Challenge, in which he is encouraging others to contribute to the NEIU Foundation by matching gifts up to a total of $500,000 annually through 2018.

“When we announced the Challenge a little more than a year ago, I viewed it as an opportunity to honor my core values in partnership with a university that has been an important part of my own life and a symbol of hope, success and excellence for families in Chicago and beyond,” Goodwin said. “More than 900 donors demonstrated with their generous contributions that they feel the same way. I could not be more proud.”

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 support, Northeastern named a college after an alumnus and donor 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.

For the next two years, donors will continue to have 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.

In total, more than 900 donors opted in to the Goodwin Gift Challenge. The average gift was just under $200, and the largest was $55,000.

“The Goodwin Gift Challenge and the contributions it inspires will have a direct, immediate and lasting impact on our diverse student body,” said Sandra Beyda-Lorie, Interim Dean of the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education. “This effort is truly positioning the College of Education and the University to transform the lives of our students and their families through education.”

Northeastern is regarded as one of the most diverse public universities in the nation and is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The University has an enrollment of almost 10,000 students. Located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Northeastern offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, education and business. The University has four additional locations in the Chicago area: the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, El Centro, the Center for College Access and Success and the University Center of Lake County.

“Mr. Goodwin has opened the door to a new era of support for Northeastern,” said Liesl Downey, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the NEIU Foundation. “We are seeing new and creative contributions to the NEIU Foundation, and that momentum is being felt in every corner of the University.”

Just as Northeastern celebrates the successful completion of the first year of the Goodwin Gift Challenge, another giving opportunity for the NEIU Foundation has arrived for the holiday season: For Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29, A. Michael “Mickey” Drachler, M.D., (B.A. ’68) has made a challenge pledge of up to $5,000.

Drachler’s donations will benefit a scholarship in the Department of Biology. Any donation to the NEIU Foundation on Giving Tuesday—regardless of designation—will count toward Drachler’s challenge.

In another successful first, Northeastern alumnus and retired Communication, Media and Theatre Professor Jim Blair gave single dollar bills to incoming students during Golden Eagle Welcome Day in August. The students then donated those dollars—and then some—to the Class Gift Scholarship Fund.

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 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.