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    “The Art of Gratitude” Stewardship Campaign

    The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    Special Events, Projects, Programs, or Campaigns 

    In “The Art of Gratitude,” we commissioned nine local artists to create original works of art that express appreciation to our donors for the overwhelming success of our first comprehensive fundraising effort, the “Many Faces. One Mission.” campaign. This project was an innovative way to thank the 11,315 donors, who helped us surpass our $500 million fundraising goal, propelling extraordinary achievements in health education, innovation, and care.  
    “The Art of Gratitude” launched on April 20, 2023, at a donor celebration event to commemorate the successful completion of the campaign. The art hung on gallery-style walls, and the artists were present to discuss the significance of their work. As a thank you for attending the event, donors received notecards featuring the artwork. We also created a gift book for key donors, integrating the art with text and design that emphasized our deep appreciation for our donors, who share our vision of a healthier world.  
    We amplified the impact of this project by showcasing the pieces in a social media campaign and in a traveling exhibit that brings the artwork to locations across the university, engaging with students, faculty, and visitors. 
    What was the most impactful part of your entry? 
    The artwork itself constitutes the most impactful part of “The Art of Gratitude.” This is a unique way to thank donors, one that they likely have not seen before now. The project is designed to make the donors feel special, as nine art pieces were created in their honor.  
    Through the original installation, traveling exhibit, donor gift book, notecards, social media campaign, and online presence, we were able to display our gratitude to our broad internal and external audiences. We seek to show them that their participation in the campaign is both valuable and valued, and this innovative art project provided them a visual representation of their collective effort and its impact. 
    What is one thing you learned from your entry/experience? 

    Our donors give to health and science institutions, and some people may consider art to be separate from health; however, our viewpoint is that there is art in medicine. Thus, the biggest thing we learned from this project is how to connect the two fields to steward our donors in a unique, meaningful way. “The Art of Gratitude” captured our community’s attention while effectively conveying our gratitude. We had to find a way to unite the pieces in the collection, and we did this by directing artists to depict the collective effort of many people coming together for the greater good. The project has been incredibly well received, with many people expressing delight over the gift book and many others requesting their own copies. 
    Contact: Mika Stepankiw