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Future Forward:
Development Efforts at the Center

Cecily Craighill, the Center’s Director of Development, joined the Center for Politics team last fall after moving from Philadelphia and her previous position in development and alumni affairs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. When asked about her reasons for making the move, she said, "I had not planned on relocating, but when the opportunity to become part of the Center’s mission and team presented itself to me, I couldn’t say no. The Center has such tremendous potential – I felt very excited by the chance to be part of its continuing growth and evolution."

Ms. Craighill’s arrival happened to coincide with the full-blown manifestation of the country’s economic recession, the meltdown of Wall Street, and the implosion of the American auto industry. It also coincided with one of the most exciting election years in recent history and a renewed sense of national interest in politics and government. Despite concerns about the prospect of fundraising in these difficult economic times, the Center has maintained a strong core of supporters, and we are optimistic that we will continue to engage them and to expand the number of individuals, foundations, and corporations contributing to and advocating for our outreach and programmatic efforts.

Like many other nonprofit organizations and academic institutions, the Center has seen a dip in individual donations. We have had to confront the sobering reality of reductions in state and federal government support from previous levels, especially for the Youth Leadership Initiative, a technology-based curriculum provided to K-12 teachers and students entirely free of charge. To ensure the maintenance of YLI’s existing tools and resources and to refresh and update the curriculum, the Center must seek additional alternative sources of funding.

The Center for Politics continues to produce exceptionally high-quality conferences, documentaries, and publications like the Crystal Ball, all of which we have managed to sustain for now but cannot do so indefinitely without proper financial support. Our development goals over the next several years will be to expand the pool of donors to the Center and to build the endowment for our future. The value of politics and the importance of civic engagement in our society remain critical as we move forward in the uncharted waters of the 21st century, and we need to make certain that our fellow citizens are well-informed and well-prepared to advance and protect our democracy.