Through work with the Missouri State University Foundation, the fundraising arm of Springfield’s largest university, Jaimie Trussell is a force for education and development at a time when funding sources are in shorter supply.
As the university’s director of development, Trussell works to bring in major gifts by identifying, cultivating and soliciting prospective donors. She also helps to create and mobilize boards for academic departments and is responsible for generating proposal materials and paperwork for gift agreements, as well as administering the gifts to the university, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
“I am fortunate that I have landed in a career that is perfectly suited to my aptitude and abilities,” Trussell says, noting she has had a hand in many significant gifts to the university, including the 2010 donation of Journagan Ranch – valued at more than $7 million – from Leo Journagan Construction Co. Inc. founder Leo Journagan. She says that gift is the second-largest private donation in the history of MSU, trailing behind the $30 million donation made in 2006 by John Q. Hammons to fund JQH Arena. The Journagan donation is the largest gift to any single department, which in this case was the William H. Darr School of Agriculture.
“I am gratified to have played a small role in securing the second-largest gift to our university in its history, and a principal role in many other significant gifts that will continue to impact our students for generations to come,” Trussell says.
She was working as scholarship coordinator at MSU when she met Springfield City Manager Greg Burris, who was then a vice president for the university.
“In that position, she overhauled the system – making a lot of friends and even a few enemies by discarding the way things had ‘always been done’ and crafting a system from scratch to eliminate inefficiencies, improve communication and better steward donors,” Burris says. “As director of development, Jaimie has found her calling. ... Her real focus is on the students whose lives will be impacted by the gifts she solicits from donors. She sees the big picture,” he says.
Trussell speaks to MSU classes about the importance of networking and career building, and she teaches financial literacy to second- and third-graders through Junior Achievement.
She also was the 2010 chairwoman for The Network, a young professionals group created by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and through that role, was an ex-officio member of the chamber board.Click here for full coverage of the 2012 40 Under 40.