Sample Memo: New Donor Proposal for KU Endowment

This memo was written for an audience consisting of the endowment of the University of Kansas (hereafter referred to as KU Endowment, or KUE). My task was to research a local business that could be a potential donor to KUE and to pitch that business as a prospective donor in a memo.

While writing this memo, I utilized my professional research and writing skills, combining over 20 pages of thorough secondary research into a succinct two-page document. I used proper source attributions and utilized AP Style.

I believe the experience of writing this memo has equipped me for further professional writing related to memos, new client proposals, and the philanthropy/development field.

Disclaimer for transparency purposes: This memo was written for JOUR 302: Information Exploration at the University of Kansas in fall 2021. This public-facing portfolio sample was not sent to KU Endowment, nor was it produced for or associated with KU Endowment. I am not currently and have not previously been employed by KUE as an intern or in another professional capacity.

Sample Memo

TO: Jerome Davies, executive vice president of KU Endowment

FROM: Emma Frieze, KUE communications intern

DATE: Sept. 14, 2021

SUBJECT: Potential KUE donor: Capitol Federal Savings Bank

In the process of researching potential new donors for KU Endowment, Capitol Federal Savings Bank (hereafter referred to as Capitol Federal) has been identified as a promising candidate. 

The Business

Capitol Federal would be an ideal KUE donor. According to the bank’s Branch Locations web page, Capitol Federal has over 50 branch locations, including five Lawrence locations:

  • Folks Road
  • West Lawrence
  • Hobbs Taylor
  • Lawrence Target
  • Lawrence Dillons

This institution has longevity and stability, as well as a longstanding local presence. The bank has been headquartered in Topeka since 1893, when Capitol Federal was known as the Savings and Loan Association of Topeka, according to the Capitol Federal website

The Owner

The bank’s primary decision-maker is John B. Dicus—the chairman, president and CEO of Capitol Federal, according to his biography on the Capitol Federal website. According to Dicus’s LinkedIn, Dicus is a KU alumnus. Dicus’s family connections to KU and Capitol Federal run even deeper. Several of his relatives also attended KU, and he is the third-generation president of Capitol Federal in his family, according to a Topeka-Capital Journal article by Ann Marie Bush.

Why Target Capitol Federal Savings Bank?

  1. The Capitol Federal Foundation has a higher education focus. In fact, Capitol Federal has extensive philanthropic connections that already exist with the University of Kansas. This includes the support of KU athletic scholarships. The Dicuses also donated $20 million to the new School of Business building at KU, which is even named Capitol Federal Hall. 
  2. John B. Dicus—who acts as the Capitol Federal “owner”—has numerous personal ties to KU. As stated, Dicus is an alumnus. According to the KU Alumni Association, his wife, Brenda Dicus, is an alumnus and association board member. John Dicus’s parents and grandfather Henry Bubb are also KU alumni, according to the Topeka-Capital Journal.
  3. Finally, Capitol Federal has the financial ability to be impactful as it is “in the black” according to its most recent Form 10-K filed with the SEC. The Dicuses are known to use this ability for good; according to a Topeka-Capital Journal article by Sherman Smith, the family won Best Philanthropist for Kansas Best 150, Personalities, in July 2011. Smith said, “[John] Dicus said his dad made the decision years ago to give back to the communities where they live and work and try to make them a better place,” and Dicus has donated millions of dollars to projects like Topeka’s Evergy Plaza. Thus, Dicus has so far lived by his word to dedicate his dollars to the community through Capitol Federal.

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