Historic Campaign and Its Impact

Ann Dejnozka, Head of Advancement at Emma Willard School, is spearheading the “Infinite Horizon” campaign, poised to set a historic funding record in independent girls’ school education. This ambitious initiative, deeply supported by exceptional alumnae, aims to transform the school across various dimensions, including facilities and student programs.Dejnozka’s vision for this campaign extends beyond financial goals, focusing on the lasting impact it will have on the Emma Willard community.

The Power of Teamwork

A pivotal element in the success of the Infinite Horizon campaign has been the strong partnerships Dejnozka has cultivated. Working closely with the Head of School and engaging with exceptional volunteers and the Board of Trustees have been fundamental in shaping the campaign’s direction and success. The collaboration with these leaders has provided invaluable insights and guidance, helping to steer the campaign effectively. Furthermore, the support of a robust team in Advancement has been crucial. This teamwork exemplifies how critical partnerships are in achieving success in any Advancement program, illustrating the power of collective effort and shared vision.

Challenges of Philanthropy

With nearly 30 years in philanthropy, Dejnozka has witnessed the double-edged sword of technology in fundraising. “There’s so much humility that goes into this work,” she reflects, noting the importance of maintaining deep, personal relationships with donors in an increasingly digital world. She stresses the need to focus on smaller and mid-size donors for sustained support, a crucial aspect often overshadowed by major donations. The economic landscape, she adds, is a variable that could impact these donors significantly. In her view, peer-to-peer outreach, especially in women’s philanthropy, is vital. She believes in the power of storytelling and personal relationships to widen the donor pool and strengthen the community’s bond with the school.

Stewardship as a Key to Success

Stewardship is a cornerstone of Emma Willard’s approach under Dejnozka’s leadership. Celebrating the impact of contributions, involving gift recipients in donor relations, and regular updates on fund utilization are practices that set high standards in donor relations. This approach not only recognizes donors’ contributions but also ensures their ongoing support, as evidenced by the campaign’s progress toward its $175 million goal.

Modern Philanthropy

Dejnozka’s experience has taught her the importance of clarity and honesty in donor conversations. “It’s about helping someone reach their goals,” she says, underscoring the need for vulnerability and trust-building in philanthropic dialogues. She welcomes the trend of deeper donor involvement in giving, viewing it as a positive shift in modern philanthropy.

Ann Dejnozka’s approach at Emma Willard School blends a respect for traditional philanthropic values with modern strategies. Her focus on personal relationships, combined with strategic use of technology and a strong commitment to stewardship, illustrates a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to fundraising in the contemporary educational landscape.