Donations from trustees accounted for at least 11 percent of fiscal year (FY) 2012’s annual giving, according to data on the Alumni Fund’s website. Trustees donated at least $1,214,500 of the $10,477,227 raised in total.
An exact number could not be calculated because the Alumni Fund only reveals how much each donor gives by increments, sharing the range into which their gift fell, and not an exact figure. In addition, the records for gifts from seven trustees were not available.
Annual giving is a collection of funds donated to the College from alumni, friends of the College and parents. Funds raised make up a significant portion of the College’s operating budget each year.
Chair of the Board of Trustees Stephen Gormley ’72 gave in excess of $100,000 and David Wheeler ’74, the vice chair, gave between $25,000 and $49,000. President Mills, whose donation is not included in the total for trustee giving, donated between $50,000 and $100,000.
While most donations to the College are small, Bowdoin relies on the Board of Trustees for larger donations.
“Our trustees, like any of our leadership volunteer groups, are among the most loyal,” said Kelly Kerner, senior vice president for Development and Alumni Relations. “We know with a fair amount of certainty that 100 percent of the trustees will give this year.”
Kerner said many of the trustees “have yet to make their commitments” for FY 2013.
While the Department of Planning and Development will not release a specific figure for trustee giving, Kerner said the trustees are “extraordinarily engaged and generous.”
With the calendar year coming to a close and opportunities for 2012 tax deductions diminishing, the Office of Planning and Development hopes to gauge donations to the College for FY 2013, which runs from July 1 to June 30.
Kerner said this December 31 is an important indicator in estimating the total donations to annual giving for the 2013 fiscal year.
“Depending on what happens with Congress over the next two weeks, there could be a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “If the government were to come out and say we’re taking away the charitable deduction, it’s not a big stretch to think that we’d have more giving in this December than we do normally.”
The end of the tax year and the end of the College’s financial year are the biggest markers for the Annual Giving’s progress.
The Office of Planning and Development’s current goal for annual giving in FY 2013 is $10,607,000. As of December 3, $2,131,591 had been raised.
Currently 2,569 people have made donations, a 257 person increase from last year. Annual Giving is five percent ahead of where it was at this point last year in terms of gifts and pledges and two percent ahead in alumni participation.
As most donations to the College are relatively small, the Office of Planning and Development finds this increase in participation significant. According to Brannon Fisher, director of annual giving, 38 percent of donations are less than $100, 39 percent are between $100 to $500, and only 23 percent are greater than $500.
Students are also beginning to assess their potential giving to the College. The Senior Class Giving Campaign is a “peer-oriented annual giving operation” composed of seniors hired to promote donations from their class. The students are expected to continue to raise funds from their classmates for years following graduation. The program is student-led, with four seniors acting as directors for the project.
The directors were hired last October by the Department of Development after an application and interview process. The directors then searched for potential class agents, considering the diversity of the senior class before offering them these positions.
Dani Chediak ’13 is among those directing the campaign and said she hopes the position will allow her to continue to connect with Bowdoin after graduation.
“I do a lot of activities now on campus, I like serving the Bowdoin community and I really believe in this institution,” Chediak said. “I feel like I want to have some tangible connection to it once I leave, and this seemed like a great opportunity to do that.”
The campaign hopes to get 100 percent of the senior class in contact with a class agent, a feat the campaign was able to accomplish last spring.
“The whole system has changed a lot in the past few years,” Chediak said. “There used to be a very small number of class agents reaching out to a pretty large group. Now, with the 27 class agents and the 4 directors, we’re each reaching out to 10 to 15 people.”
The class agents are planning a launch campaign for Trustee Weekend next February. They hope to explain to the senior class the importance of giving to the College and the process of the campaign. The group has reserved the Druckenmiller atrium for the event.
Because this year’s class agents were selected earlier than in past years, the Department of Development hopes for more awareness of the campaign, and thus, more donations.
“In terms of participation, we’re seeing really good things from our youngest classes,” Fisher said. “Last year, the Senior Class Campaign was able to hit 75 percent [participation].”
According to Chediak, the directors will be earmarking the senior gift to financial aid to create the Class of 2013 financial aid scholarship.
“For our class at this age, it’s more about participation and giving five dollars for the year rather than giving a great donation,” Chediak said. “It’s our way of saying, ‘yes, we approve of Bowdoin and we approve of the education we received. We want to support it and its endeavors.’”