College shatters charitable giving records in FY 2004

by Colin Barry | 7/29/04 5:00am

Dartmouth College netted a record-breaking $118.1 million in charitable gifts in the fiscal year ending June 30, topping last year's contributions by almost one-third, College officials announced Tuesday. The largest single gifts will endow the Neukom Institute for Computational Science and new construction at the Thayer School of Engineering.

Donors earmarked other contributions for use on a new undergraduate dining facility and a cluster of undergraduate dormitories slated for groundbreaking this coming fall or spring.

"We'll direct most of the unrestricted gifts to institutional priorities like financial aid and recruiting the best faculty we can," said Adam Keller, the College's executive vice president for finance and administration.

News of Dartmouth's fundraising successes comes on the heels of positive growth in the endowment -- strong investment performance yielded 16 percent gains in the first three quarters of FY 2004.

College officials attributed some of the past year's expansion in contributions to nationwide economic recovery. Charitable giving is usually closely tied to the general economic climate.

Keller also cited the College's growing fundraising efforts leading up to the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, a five-year drive to raise over one billion dollars that is set to kick off in the fall. Although official goals will not be announced until a Board of Trustees meeting in November, the College is said to already be in the "quiet" stage of the campaign.

Both Keller and College President James Wright particularly lauded the efforts of about 100 undergraduates who participated in Green Corps, the Dartmouth College Fund's student telemarketing program.

"The alumni were very responsive to calls from undergraduates over the course of the year," Keller said.

Alumni giving continued to climb in FY 2004 -- 47.4 percent of Dartmouth graduates donated to the College's fund in FY 2004, up two percent from the past year and six percent from 2002. The year's numbers should put Dartmouth near the top of the Ivy League in alumni allegiance, probably second to Princeton, which has historically boasted about 65 percent alumni donation.

Keller speculated that Dartmouth's traditional strength in donations is rooted in the College's unrivaled ability to inspire fidelity in its graduates.

"I think we have better participation than most places because of the loyalty alumni feel to the institution and the real difference they feel that it's made in their lives," Keller said.