|Davidson College Alumni Show Strong Support for Alma Mater Despite Challenging Economic Times
July 16, 2009
Contact: Bill Giduz, 704-894-2244
Davidson, NC--Even though the financial world has been quaking around them, Davidson College supporters have acted to make sure the college rests on solid economic ground.
In a strong show of support, contributors to Davidson met the dollar and participation goals for the school's 2008-09 Annual Fund. For the seventh year in a row, more than 60 percent of alumni made a gift to the Annual Fund, and overall gifts surpassed both last year's total and this year's goal. The goal was $7.8 million, and the year-end contributions on June 30 totaled $8.06 million.
"I shouldn't be surprised, but this was a challenging year," said Maria Aldrich, director of Davidson's Annual Fund. "Many people faced very challenging economic conditions. But we have a wonderful college family, and they acted generously to support the experience and tradition we value."
National Annual Fund chair Alison Hall Mauze '84, said, "This is a moment to celebrate what is great about the Davidson community. In this economy, we knew that meeting our Annual Fund goal would be challenging. But we met our goal-and then some!-and that's due to Davidson's dedicated staff, our hard-working class chairs, who went the extra mile to connect with their classmates, and the generosity and commitment of our alumni."
Mauze also noted the accomplishments of Young Alumni Ne Ultra chair Vincent Benjamin '04, who led the young alumni group to a record-breaking year. She also praised Bill Vinson '48, who achieved more than a 94 percent participation rate in his class.
Elizabeth Kiser, director of development at Davidson College, cited particularly strong support from non-alumni Davidson parents, whose Annual Fund gifts topped $1 million for only the second time ever. That effort was led by Parents Council co-chairs Mark and Lynn Filipski, who established a $50,000 challenge early in the year that prompted a strong response from their constituents.
Alumni support was another important success factor. Davidson is among very few colleges that enjoy support from 60 percent of alumni, and college officials were worried about the effect of poor economic conditions on the Annual Fund. But alumni came through once again, achieving 60.1 percent participation (9,717 donors among the total alumni body of 16,044.) "For alumni to prioritize Davidson in this challenging economic time is a remarkable testament of their loyalty to the college," said Kiser.
Graduating seniors offered another example of strong support for the Annual Fund. The senior class gift set new dollar and participation goals, with 98 percent of the members of the class submitting a gift.
A particular motivator for many contributors was the opportunity for the first time ever in an Annual Fund campaign to designate gifts to The Davidson Trust, the innovative scholarship program that allows the college to meet 100 percent of each student's demonstrated financial need with grants and work study, and without loans. Annual Fund contributors designated $1.35 million toward The Davidson Trust.
In addition to The Davidson Trust, the Annual Fund supports the college's current operating expenses (Living Endowment), the Davidson Athletic Foundation, and Classical 89.9 WDAV. Annual Fund gifts will cover about 8.6 percent of the college's $93-million budget this year.
Kiser praised the college fundraising staff for its hard work during the fiscal year's final month of June. About 30 staffers reached out to more than 12,000 past supporters, mostly by phone, as the end-of-fiscal-year deadline approached. Kiser said, "We had to make our case for Davidson remaining a priority for people this year. We didn't assume anyone would make a gift this year without an appeal to preserve the Davidson experience, which is what a gift to the Annual Fund insures."
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.