Gift innovates support of Rochester fundraising

April 10, 2014
Laurence "Larry" H. Bloch

Laurence “Larry” H. Bloch ’75

University of Rochester alumnus and Trustee Laurence “Larry” H. Bloch and his wife, Cindy, have made a significant gift to endow funds supporting the University’s fundraising program and the position of chief fundraising officer.

The University position of chief advancement officer, previously held by James D. Thompson, will now be known as the James D. Thompson Chief Advancement Officer. Created in honor of Mr. Bloch’s eight-year partnership with Thompson, the fund—formally known as the James D. Thompson Chief Advancement Officer: Endowed by Larry and Cindy Bloch—will support the head of the fundraising program.

In addition, to support fundraising at the University in perpetuity, the Blochs established the Larry and Cindy Bloch Endowment for University Advancement.

“I am deeply moved by how Cindy and Larry express their support of the University,” said President Joel Seligman. “This gift will allow us to meet the significant challenges we will face in the road ahead for the development of our advancement program, far into the future. The Blochs’ choice to recognize Jim at the same time captures the true spirit of named positions, as we will be building on his hard work and great success. We are incredibly fortunate to so often be the beneficiaries of the Blochs’ generosity and counsel.”

The Blochs’ innovative fund supporting a University staff member aligns closely with the University’s faculty support goal for The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, as a lasting resource that will help attract and retain exceptional professionals. The Campaign seeks to establish a minimum of 80 endowed professorships by its close on June 30, 2016.

Endowed professorships are among the most prestigious honors a faculty member can receive and provide the funds for salaries, benefits, and research support that enable the University to successfully compete with peer institutions for talented faculty members. To date, donors have helped the University create 77 new endowed positions.

In November 2013, the University’s campaign surpassed the $1 billion mark on its way toward its ultimate goal of $1.2 billion. The Blochs said they made their gift to recognize the milestone and the man who they feel played a major role in its realization.

“For the University to be approaching $1.1 billion in campaign commitments with more than two years to go is something very few would have imagined eight years ago. This accomplishment is very much a reflection of Jim’s vision and deep-rooted commitment to the University’s donors,” said Mr. Bloch. “Generating support from alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and friends requires a great advancement organization and forward-thinking leadership. Endowing the chief advancement officer in Jim’s honor will enable the University to maintain the very high standard he set.”

Thompson, recruited to the University with Bloch’s help in 2006, worked closely with the board throughout his eight-year tenure as chief advancement officer. In that time, he successfully developed and implemented a plan that greatly expanded the advancement program the University has today. His efforts have established giving societies, volunteer boards, and faculty programs that have helped increase the University’s visibility and outreach to alumni and friends across the country. This includes the creation of the George Eastman Circle—the University’s leadership annual giving society—which is largely responsible for making the University’s Annual Fund become one of the fastest growing in the nation. Thompson is now serving as special counsel to the President, where he will be advising President Seligman on long-term growth in advancement and planning for the next campaign.

As members of the George Eastman Circle, the Blochs funded a statue of George Eastman, the University’s greatest benefactor and namesake of the society. The statue, which now stands on the University’s Eastman Quad on the River Campus, commemorated the launch of the society and celebrates Eastman’s philanthropy. In 2000, the University formally dedicated the Larry and Cindy Bloch Fitness Center, located in the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center, in honor of the Blochs and in recognition of their leadership gift to the Center.

Cindy Bloch, a graduate of Parsons School of Design, built a career as head fashion designer for several women’s sportswear companies in New York City, including major divisions of Evan Picone, Leslie Fay, and J. G. Hook. In her retirement from the fashion industry, she has taken on leadership roles in a number of philanthropic organizations, including serving as board chair of the San Diego based nonprofit Kids Korps, USA.

A private investor, Larry Bloch received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester in 1975. He earned his master’s in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. A University trustee since 1998, Bloch serves as chair of the board’s Development Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee. He is also vice-chair of West Coast efforts for The Meliora Challenge.

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