Gifts to Dartmouth reach record high

by Kathleen McDermott | 8/14/00 5:00am

Dartmouth received a record number of gifts over the past year, with donations from individuals, foundations and corporations totaling $116 million.

Funds raised for the year ending June 30 were 8.6 percent higher than last year, and the $66.7 million in alumni contributions comprised by far the greatest proportion of giving, according to Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Stanley Colla.

According to Dartmouth's 2000 Alumni Fund Director Robert Caldwell, "the far majority of revenue comes from individuals," accounting for approximately 80 percent of the revenue raised. Along with $66.7 million in contributions from alumni, an additional $25.3 million was donated by individuals such as parents, spouses and friends.

Although giving from corporations was down this past year, support from foundations was dramatically higher, according to Colla. Corporations and foundations contributed $24 million to the College in the past year.

The College appeals to a broad mix of foundations on a regular basis, and they respond in accordance with their interests and funding calendars, Colla said.

Colla credits this year's large increase in giving to "the loyalty and generosity of Dartmouth alumni, parents and friends," as well as "support for the aspirations of this College, and the vision of President Wright." He added that the continuing strength of the U.S. economy was also a factor in this year's gifts and donations.

Explaining the increase, Caldwell said, "We've identified the best practices in the industry [to raise money] and are implementing them."

According to Caldwell, "best practices" include restructuring the internal organization of the fundraising program to be more efficient, getting volunteers involved in contacting alum and parents, making the staff travel more, encouraging more face-to-face contacts with the constituency and educating them about the needs of the College.

And as a result, Caldwell said "people are responding very well philanthropically."

In addition, "market trends have a positive influence on fundraising. The market is dong well, and there is a correlation between the market performance and people's willingness to be philanthropic," Caldwell said.

Philanthropic dollars raised by Dartmouth are divided into the Dartmouth College Fund, endowment, and funds for capital projects, Caldwell said.

Donations to the College Fund are used within the current year, forming a core part of the College's operating budget. "Fourteen percent of all you see at the College is from gifts to this fund," Caldwell added.

"Gifts given to the institution and its perpetuity" form the endowment, Caldwell said. The principle is never spent, but each year some of the interest is spent on scholarships and professorship gifts, he continued.

Funds are raised separately for capital projects, such as the building of the Berry Library and other campus buildings. The largest single gift to the College this past year was the $15 million bequest from John Berry '44.

"It's been a great year," Caldwell said, but "that was last year, and now we need to do better this year."

Caldwell noted he expects to continue on developing practices and processes to realize continued success.

"Like all private universities and colleges, Dartmouth's needs continue to increase," Colla said, adding, "and we hope and believe that the public's confidence in Dartmouth will lead to increased support to match our needs."

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