She will be integral with the College’s fundraising efforts and lead the Development staff to support a steadily improving campus infrastructure, academic programs that are developing world-class attributes and achievements, and national aspirations related to a strong environmental mission.
In recent years Unity College has achieved a series of fundraising milestones, including a $10 million donation from an anonymous donor, expanding alumni support, and the donation of Half Moon Gardens of Thorndike, Maine, a multifaceted greenhouse operation. The Half Moon Gardens gift came with five years of financial support.
During the fall 2014 semester, Unity College will open Half Moon Gardens and the McKay Agricultural Research Station, supporting a host of hands-on entrepreneurial learning, research, and academic initiatives. These endeavors will benefit from Unity College’s first in the nation focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century transdisciplinary (collaborative) environmental problem solving.
“The College community is pleased to welcome Julie Briggs Cunningham, a fundraising professional with a proven track record of excellence,” noted President Stephen Mulkey. “She is highly enthusiastic about the progress that has been made at Unity College as it seeks to gain a national profile and provide strong leadership in higher education. The progress this institution has made in service to the sustainability of this planet is exemplary, and it will be greatly enhanced through continued resource development. That is one among a number of reasons why Julie is such a good fit for us at this point in time. She believes in Unity’s potential as much as we do and is eager to share its strengths with those who seek to support what we do.”
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Executive Vice President and Liaison to the Board of Trustees, says that Unity’s strong environmental mission will continue to attract the support of those who care about future generations, this has been evident by the impressive increase in first-time donors over the last two years.
“Our students gain skills that help them to become leaders in the green economy and solve the most pressing environmental problems facing mankind, including global climate change,” Khoury stated. “Julie’s extensive background in fundraising complements both our strengths and goals. It would be difficult to find an environmental college in the nation that has demonstrated more potential in recent years than Unity College. Our successes and mission are what attracted Julie to this position. She is poised to provide an extraordinary measure of fundraising leadership at a time when continued resource development is not only important for the College, but for the aspirations of our students as they prepare for lives in service to the natural world.”
Briggs Cunningham will assume duties prior to the 2014-2015 academic year. She praised Unity’s talented faculty, staff, students, along with the vision of President Mulkey and the Board. “The positive momentum at the College is growing,” noted Briggs Cunningham. She says that Unity’s curriculum and approach to experiencial learning will continue to grow in popularity. “Unity is at the forefront in shifting the higher education paradigm,” she said. “Being part of an institution that is providing such leadership at the regional, national and even global level, fills me with energy, enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.”
Most recently Briggs Cunningham served as Director of Annual Giving Programs at St. Bonaventure University. A member of the senior management team, she increased unrestricted revenue, number of donors and donor retention while managing a staff, setting fundraising goals and benchmarks. She successfully incorporated social media into fundraising efforts, increased student giving and participation, participated in grant writing and email solicitations, and led a re-branding initiative pertaining to the unrestricted fund that illustrates the impact of giving.
Her additional experience includes serving as Executive Director and CPO of the Allegany County United Way of Wellsville, New York; an Account Executive with WJQZ / WLSV Radio Station; and Job Developer / Job Coach / Job Retention Specialist with Allegany County ARC of Wellsville, New York.
A strong believer in the importance of community service, Briggs Cunningham is currently a Board Member with the Allegany County Area Foundation. She has previously served as a Board Member with the Business and Education Community Coalition; Wellsville Central School Board of Education, and Literacy Volunteers of Allegany County.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology / Communications from Hiram College of Hiram, Ohio.