MBU Empowers Campaign Confronts Modern Challenges with Historic Promise

Hundreds of new students are drawn to Mary Baldwin each year not merely by the rigorous academics or the closeness of its community, but by the promise that has defined the university for nearly two centuries: at Mary Baldwin, every student is empowered to pursue a life of purpose and professional success. That promise helped form the futures of countless MBU alumni who continue to impact the world in untold ways. Since its founding, Mary Baldwin has proven itself to be much more than a university. It is the springboard that launches potential.

This ideal lies at the heart of the MBU Empowers Campaign, a $25 million fundraising initiative to support students during the current COVID-19 crisis, and beyond. Through three pillars —  the Mary Baldwin community, the shared experience of students and alumni, and the campus that holds a cherished place within the hearts of so many — the campaign seeks to inspire giving at every level of the MBU family. MBU Empowers is launching with a dedicated website at MBUempowers.com to serve as the hub for campaign news, giving, and stories of empowerment and generosity.

“Our world is changing dramatically with each passing day,” said President Pamela Fox. “These are times that lead us to reflect on the people, places, and experiences that shaped us and brought us joy. For a countless number of our alumni, the MBU Empowers Campaign provides an opportunity for exactly that. It’s a way to ensure that today’s students receive the same support that so many of our graduates enjoyed to overcome their own personal obstacles during these challenging times.”

Central to MBU Empowers is the Baldwin Fund, which serves as the constant engine working to propel Mary Baldwin forward. Powerful in its flexibility, the Baldwin Fund is vital in fulfilling the university’s student-centered purpose by allowing MBU leadership to address opportunities and obstacles as they occur in real time. 

In periods of calm, these reserves often serve as the starting point for key projects that continue MBU’s prosperity, such as helping to retain exceptional faculty members and provide experiential learning opportunities for students,  as well as aiding the university in meeting the needs of an ever-changing world with confidence and vision. Yet the fund’s true value is manifest during times of turbulence such as the current COVID-19 crisis, when these resources are mitigating the unforeseen costs of transitioning the entire campus to online learning, aiding displaced students who could not return home, and preparing campus for the safe return of students in Fall ‘20.

“These are times that lead us to reflect on the people, places, and experiences that shaped us and brought us joy. For a countless number of our alumni, the MBU Empowers Campaign provides an opportunity for exactly that.”

President Pamela Fox

MBU Empowers reflects a realignment and rebranding of the Invest for Impact Campaign. Thanks to Impact Investors and other committed friends who have generously given under the auspices of that effort, Mary Baldwin already has a foundation of more than $10 million toward its $25 million goal. As we begin this new chapter, gifts of any size to MBU Empowers counts toward the campaign’s goal of continuing to launch students toward futures as meaningful as they are rewarding.

“For so many,” said Charles E. “Chuck” Davis III, vice president of university advancement, “it was their time ‘on the hills of Mary Baldwin’ that served as the springboard for their lives as well as the foundation for meaning and purpose. Our ongoing mission is to ensure that the quality of graduates Mary Baldwin produces continues to impact a changed world in amazing ways.”

In the coming months, the MBU Empowers Campaign priorities will broaden to include areas where the university empowers its students to the fullest effect. Among these priorities are student scholarships and grants; an expansion to the Physical Activities Center; renovations to Carpenter Hall and the first floor of the iconic Grafton Library; and the creation of a home for the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL) in Kable Hall. Importantly, this expanded focus also will include investments to adapt our campus for a post-pandemic world.

For now, however, the campaign’s focus is squarely set upon the Baldwin Fund and its direct support of student success, health, and wellbeing. The coming months and years constitute a defining moment in the lives of our students. MBU Empowers seeks to do what its name declares — empower students with the support and knowledge to define this moment for themselves, rather than allowing this moment to define them.

The MBU family can look forward to campaign updates in their inboxes, on MBU social media channels, in the Mary Baldwin Magazine, and at MBUempowers.com. Visit the website now to learn more and enjoy and share a stirring video that captures the spirit of the campaign and of Mary Baldwin itself.