Penn State Grapples With Angry Donors - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
The child-molestation scandal at Pennsylvania State University isn’t just affecting the institution’s reputation, but is scaring away donors and alumni, who are either delaying contributing to Penn State or aren’t planning to give to their alma mater at all.
Last month, Diane DiPiero, a freelance writer from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, received a solicitation call from Penn State.
“I said I would support them,” says Ms. DiPiero, a 1986 alumna who gives the university $50 to $100 per year. “I don’t think I turned in that check yet. I was going to send it to them, but I’m going to hold off a little bit.”
Matt Barto, a 27-year-old software engineer in San Francisco who graduated from Penn State in 2008, says it’s unlikely he’ll donate to the university for the next 10 years, “until they’re able to turn the administration around.”
These sentiments aren’t a surprise to Rod Kirsch, Penn State’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations. He and his fund-raising staff have been deluged with calls and e-mails from concerned alumni these past few weeks.
“Donors are sad, shocked,” he said. “They’re angry. Some feel betrayed.”
But he said it’s unclear what kind of impact the sex-abuse charges leveled against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, will have on Penn State’s fund-raising efforts now and in the future. (Mr. Sandusky was charged this month by a grand jury with 40 counts of sexual crimes against young boys; subsequently, Penn State’s president, Graham B. Spanier, and its legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, were both fired by the university’s board.)