Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Now Is the Time campaign starts winding down

Whitman’s Now Is the Time fundraising campaign will come to a close on June 30.  The eight-year campaign has already exceeded its goal of raising 150 million dollars, and its organizers hope to garner more donations for the college in the time before the campaign ends.

The Now Is the Time campaign began in the 2007-2008 academic year with the goal of raising money for three purposes: improving the college’s academic resources and programs, increasing the amount of money going toward scholarships and preparing for the uncertainties of the future by growing the college’s unrestricted endowment.  Through a combination of money pledged, donated up front and left to the college as a part of donors’ estates, the campaign has garnered over 157 million dollars, a number that may increase over the next two months.

“People respond to a deadline … and our deadline is June 30,” said Trustee and campaign chair John Stanton. “We’re able to talk to people and say, ‘We’ve got a hard-stop deadline at the end of the fiscal year. If you’d like to have your gift have an impact on the college beginning next year, we really need to get the conversation completed.'”

Academic improvement, for which the campaign hoped to raise 75 million dollars, had garnered 76.5 million dollars by the end of March. This category covers the establishment of 26 tenure-track positions as well as increasing funds for internships and student-professor research, among other things. The construction of the Fouts Center for the Visual Arts and Glover Alston Center as well as the renovation of Harper Joy Theatre also fall under this umbrella.

52.2 million dollars has also already been committed to the second prong of the Now Is the Time campaign: scholarship funding. This total, also from the end of March, surpassed the goal of 50 million dollars, and much of this funding is already in use.

“Those gifts have enabled hundreds of students … to be able to attend the college and be able to continue in college,” said Stanton. “I think it’s just extraordinary that we’ve been able to, through the collective work of so many people, make a difference [with] 70 new scholarship programs [in] the last seven years.”

Finally, the financial strength component was at the end of March just shy of its 25 million dollar goal at 24.3 million dollars. This consists primarily of donations to the unrestricted endowment, which intended to pay the college’s operating costs as well as any other suitable purpose.

“The income from that unrestricted endowment can be used to meet college priorities as they emerge, evolve, change over time,” said Vice President for Development and College Relations John Bogley.

An additional four million dollars has been committed to the college but not yet targeted at any particular portion of the campaign.

On Monday, President George Bridges, along with Stanton, Bogley and Board of Trustees chair Brad McMurchie, hit the road to discuss the campaign on a tour that serves both to wrap up the campaign and as a farewell tour for Bridges.

“We will do some farewell receptions for President Bridges, but we’ll also talk about the success of the campaign, and our message will be ‘there’s still time to be a part of Now is the Time,'” said Bogley. “So I imagine that by June 30, we will have raised more than the 158 million we have committed to the campaign right now.”

While Bogley says that it’s “likely” that a similar campaign will begin at some point during Kathleen Murray’s tenure as president, there are no plans to begin one in the near future.

“Nothing’s sure until it really comes to pass,” said Bogley. “So we will use this interim period to continue to do what needs to be done to advance Whitman across the board.”

In the meantime, all involved are proud of the successes of Now Is the Time.  In an email, Bridges summed it up with a look at the campaign’s beginnings.

“There was a point…  just as we were about to launch the campaign when the Great Recession struck our country. At the time I seriously questioned whether we could or would achieve the very ambitious goal of raising 150 million dollars.” said Bridges in an email. “I am amazed by and immensely grateful for the many donors whose generous giving enabled us to exceed the goal. And I feel honored just to have played a part in this noble and exciting effort to advance Whitman. In one’s career, an experience as successful as this is exceptionally rare, particularly given the economic realities our country and our individual alumni and friends faced.”

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