During her fundraising career, Annette Carter, the new UNLV School of Medicine Senior Director of Development, has raised millions of dollars for non-profits, including universities, hospitals, and health-related foundations.
At the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida, at Florida’s Suncoast Hospice Foundation, at Northern Arizona University, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation in St. Louis, MO, the results were always the same: She built and managed a pipeline of hundreds of prospects and donors who contributed what they could so the missions of the institutions could be better carried out.
You won’t find her in her office much now -- just a few weeks on the job, she’s out making contacts, forging the kind of partnerships necessary to help develop the resources that will assist the medical school and its clinical arm, UNLV Medicine, in transforming the quality of healthcare in Nevada.
“Fundraising is a relationship business,” she says. “This is a wonderful challenge and it’s definitely not a one-woman show. I am a catalyst to bring interested donors together with very worthy projects and students.”
Carter says very important partnerships will come from many areas of the community.
“There are those who want to ensure we have the best healthcare providers and enough of them to meet our growing population. There are grateful patients and families who want to honor the health professionals who cared for them. There are those in the community who believe in the importance of higher education and who are paying it forward for help they themselves received. There are physician practices and healthcare companies who will eventually want to hire our graduates. There are foundations and others who believe in UNLV and are grateful to have our presence in Las Vegas. There are those who can give $50 and those who can give $50 million. Each and every one is important. I will be talking to anyone who will take an appointment with me and getting to know this community, inside and out.”
Priorities for fundraising, Carter notes, are being set internally and that process will continue when the newly named dean, Dr. Marc J. Kahn, takes over in April. “I have no doubt at all,” Carter says, “that Las Vegas will continue to rise to the occasion as it already has, evidenced by the new building that will be built by generous and caring donors, and the scholarships that have been established by others. This is a community full of generous individuals, foundations and companies, and I’m here to help them make a difference.”
This year Carter, who acknowledges the medical school has many pressing needs, says fundraising for scholarships for students will continue to be important -- “we’ll continue to raise money for scholarships because many of our Nevada students need that help...and we want them to practice in Nevada…Unrestricted dollars are also important because they give the dean and faculty the latitude to meet the most pressing needs using their good judgement.”
During her first year,, Carter says she’ll also be looking at ways to make donor-named professorships, chairs and programs possible. “Beginning to build endowed positions is extremely important because it ensures a perpetual stream of funding. Times change and our needs will change as well, so endowments to support faculty positions, scholarships and programs are vital. Research will also be a priority as we seek out the best and brightest physician/PhD researchers. Research is a big part of what makes a great medical school.”
Carter says she also sees a need to raise funds for patient care, particularly for members of the community who have difficulty even paying to see a doctor. “When major healthcare issues arise, they will need our help and donors can make a great difference in this area. I’ve always felt that the worst place to be in this life is sick and poor.”
One of Carter’s goals for 2020 is to ensure that those interested in helping the UNLV School of Medicine understand the many different ways that can be done. She’ll be happy to explain, for example, stock and deferred gift options. “My goal is always to help the donor identify the amount of impact she/he wishes to have on the school of medicine and help them to discover beneficial ways for them to make those wishes a reality.”
Often, Carter says, many people mistakenly believe that because a school has taxpayer support, it doesn’t need philanthropy. In her experience, she says government support only covers around 10 percent of what is necessary to make an institution truly outstanding. “Without the philanthropic donations of donors at all levels, innovation is not always possible. Donors really are the reason that the impossible becomes possible.”