Eisenhower Library Surpasses Initiative Goal Dennis O'Shea -------------------------------------- Homewood News and Information Over the top. Already. Four short words with a lot of meaning for the staff and supporters of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. The MSEL has exceeded the goal for its portion the Johns Hopkins Initiative, the $900 million fund-raising campaign now under way at the university and the Johns Hopkins Health System. The library already has received $27.3 million in gifts and commitments, Michael Bloomberg, chair of the campaign, told fellow university trustees at their meeting last week. That surpasses the MSEL goal of $27 million in a campaign that still has four years to go. "It's great," said James Neal, Sheridan Director of the Eisenhower Library. "I think it helps demonstrate how central the library is to the academic research mission of the university. "It's also a tribute to Champ and Debbie Sheridan and to the willingness and commitment of others to follow their lead." The Sheridans' $20 million gift to the library was announced during the public launch of the Johns Hopkins Initiative in 1994. It included a $5 million challenge that has attracted gifts from other MSEL supporters. On the theory that there's no good reason to stop now, Bloomberg said the campaign executive committee has authorized the library to set a new goal, $34 million, about 25 percent beyond the original target. A majority of the $27 million raised so far is designated for the library's endowment; Neal said the MSEL will continue to emphasize endowment needs with potential donors, including corporations and foundations that are interested in information technology. "We're in an era of what I call information schizophrenia," Neal said. "Libraries need to continue to develop our traditional collections, but they also need to step up in innovative ways to operate in the electronic environment. ... There's a lot here to demonstrate [to potential donors] that we are a principal player in the new information environment and that investments here will pay off for the entire scholarly community." Bloomberg said the entire Johns Hopkins Initiative has raised about $525 million in commitments so far, about 58 percent of the overall $900 million goal and ahead of where he had hoped the campaign would be at this point. The effort is even farther along toward its primary target, $525 million for endowment and capital projects. About $361 million, more than two-thirds of that goal, has been committed so far. "But the first part of the campaign is the easiest part, so this is no time to sit back and relax," Bloomberg said. About 41 percent of gifts so far have come from alumni, said Robert R. Lindgren, vice president for development and alumni relations. That compares to less than 24 percent in the Johns Hopkins Institutions' last campaign, which ended in 1990.
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