VCU alumni organizations approve new model
On Dec. 17, 2020, Virginia Commonwealth University announced that VCU Alumni and the MCV Alumni Association of VCU will align operations with the university’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, creating a new structure to meet the expanding needs of its 208,000 alumni.
Who made the decision for the alumni associations to align with the university?
Since September 2018, the executive committees of the VCU Alumni board of governors and the MCV Alumni Association of VCU board of trustees have been carefully reviewing their organizational missions, strategies to best serve alumni worldwide and national best practices for alumni engagement.
Over the past several months, a universitywide task force of 14 alumni led a more in-depth analysis and recommended to the University Alumni Leadership Council that the associations adopt a new aligned model. In fall 2020, the boards voted to integrate their administration with university alumni programs.
How did the boards come to this decision?
A task force of the combined association boards worked with Development and Alumni Relations leadership to review several models for the future of the alumni organizations. Three structural models were considered after a careful review of national best practices, potential funding mechanisms, legal consideration and mutual strategic priorities:
- Independent 501(c)3 organizations with separate staff, brand and infrastructures
- Independent 501(c)3 organizations with leased services from the university
- University alignment (dissolution of 501(c)3s) with formation of new alumni representative board
How do VCU Alumni chapters function under the new model?
Alumni chapters will not experience any immediate change in operations, communications or investment. Chapter or organization leaders will serve as volunteers of the university, working with assigned alumni volunteer managers to develop and promote programming for their respective constituents. The new alumni council might assist in organizing sponsorship or financial assistance for chapter activities through one of the university’s institutionally affiliated foundations.
Am I still a member of the alumni association?
All degree-holding alumni of Virginia Commonwealth University and its predecessors are members of the alumni community. VCU Alumni ceased accepting new members in 2018, moving to an inclusive alumni organization.
I am a Life Member of VCU Alumni. What does this mean for me?
You will remain a part of the Life Member Society and will continue to receive special courtesies. Learn more.
What happens to the money I paid to join as a Life Member?
VCU Alumni and the MCV Alumni Association accepted membership payments until Dec. 31, 2018. All membership fees were used to create benefits packages, including magazines, subscriptions and program administration. Additionally, revenue generated from alumni dues created alumni recognition programs and engagement events across multiple affinity networks. A portion of life membership dues were placed into restricted endowment accounts to underwrite long-term costs of life membership benefits.
Will VCU Alumni continue to award scholarships?
The alumni associations established restricted endowed accounts with university affiliated foundations to support students, which will be distributed based on criteria established at the creation of the awards.
Will the MCV Campus still celebrate Reunion?
Alumni reunions will not experience any immediate change in operations, communications or investment from university alumni relations and the participating schools on the MCV Campus. Class leaders will serve as volunteers of the university, rather than the MCVAA, working with assigned alumni volunteer managers to develop and promote programming for their classes. A new representational alumni council might assist in organizing sponsorship or financial assistance for reunion activities through one of the university’s affiliated foundations.
How will the new university-aligned model affect alumni?
Alumni should not notice any difference in the communications, access or engagement they currently have, whether as members of a chapter or other affiliation. Programming will continue as a collaboration between VCU staff and alumni volunteers.
Still have questions? Contact Elizabeth Bass (M.S.W.’03/SW), AVP for alumni relations.