Focus on Philanthropy: Making a Statement about Giving
May 06, 2011
By Elizabeth Michalka — This article was originally published in the Team Fuqua alumni magazine.
Leslie Kerr (Daytime MBA ’96)
President & Founder, Intellaprice
Contributor to The Fuqua Annual Fund since 1999
Reunion Co-Chair for 15th Reunion
Six years ago, Leslie Kerr (Daytime MBA ’96) started Intellaprice, a pricing advisory firm for the restaurant industry. She explains that she would not “have had the guts to do it” without her Fuqua background. Based in Boston, MA, her clients now include Dunkin’ Donuts, Olive Garden and Häagen-Dazs, among others.
“I’ve gotten where I am today because of the education, the network, and the confidence I received from Fuqua,” she says. “I was very deliberate about choosing Fuqua because I knew it was such an important step in advancing my career.”
Recognizing that her career success is a result of her education, Kerr says she has always enjoyed giving back to Fuqua. Most recently, she’s taken on the Daytime MBA Class of 1996 reunion co-chair role, and she has high hopes for the reunion giving campaign.
Starting out strong, the reunion committee has set a 50 percent participation goal for the giving campaign—a goal that most would say is extremely ambitious—and must be met by June 30.
“Fifty percent actually sounds low to me,” Kerr admits. “A well funded business school is the beginning of the cycle—it’s where everything starts. Working on the reunion committee, I’ve learned that alumni giving is key to supporting Fuqua in attracting strong faculty and building programs for a top education. It’s key to keeping Fuqua at the forefront of innovation.”
Kerr realizes that with tough economic times, people are more deliberate about their charitable donations, but she is also quick to point out that no gift is too small—every gift, regardless of size, impacts the participation number and the school.
She says that she knows her fellow classmates have a strong affinity for the school, but that has not consistently translated to participation in giving campaigns, and she and co-chairs Peter Barlow and John Kinnaman hope to turn that around this year. Increased alumni participation not only impacts the funds that Fuqua can use to develop programs and invest in faculty, but it’s also a component in business school rankings, making it a tangible way for alumni to help advance Fuqua.
“The reunion committee wants to get our classmates in a habit of giving,” she says. “And we can make a statement about how much Fuqua means to us through our class gift.”