Alumni donations total $171.5 million, break record
By Daniel Bornstein, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, August 10, 2012
Dartmouth raised a record-breaking $171.5 million in alumni contributions in fiscal year 2012, eclipsing last year’s figure by 16.4 percent, according to an Aug. 10 press release from the College. The Dartmouth College Fund, which raises money on an annual basis, broke its own record with $47 million, compared with last year’s $44.5 million.
44.2 percent of alumni contributed to the fund this year, and alumni fundraising accounts for roughly 10 percent of the College’s spending.
“The annual fund supports financial aid and faculty — the very core of what Dartmouth is,” Senior Vice President for Advancement Ann Keith said.
Alumni generosity allows Dartmouth to be one of the few schools in the nation that offers need-blind admissions, allowing it to attract the top students regardless of their financial background, Keith said. Nevertheless, Business Insider named Dartmouth the 13th most expensive college in the country in May.
Keith attributed this record-breaking year in part to former College President Jim Yong Kim’s success in re-energizing alumni both on campus and beyond as he traveled the country visiting regional alumni chapters. Such support continued even after Kim was tapped to be president of the World Bank. Keith said that alumni volunteers also played an important role by reaching out to members of their class to encourage them to contribute to the College.
In addition to the Dartmouth College Fund, three other records were surpassed in fiscal year 2012. The Parents and Grandparents Fund, a branch of the Dartmouth College Fund, raised $3.7 million. The Thayer School of Engineering’s annual fund collected $1.1 million, and the Geisel School of Medicine raised $736,000.
The Classes of 1952, 1977 and 1982 raised record amounts for their particular reunion years.
The rise in alumni contributions reflects the College’s strategic response to the $100-million deficit it faced as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. While the endowment was affected by the economic downturn, alumni fundraising was not significantly changed.
“Growth in the annual fund is an important part of the revenue stream,” Keith said. “It was part of the solution for resolving the deficit.”
This year’s record-setting figure sends an important signal to Dartmouth’s next president, who will undoubtedly be tasked with encouraging the continuation of the institution’s loyal support from alumni, Keith said.
Whereas the annual fund supports financial aid and faculty, larger individual donations are more likely to target a specific building project or an endowed faculty position.
Other Ivy League schools have seen their annual funds experience increased donations in recent years. Harvard raised $277 million in fiscal year 2011, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Brown University and Princeton University set records in 2012, as did Yale in 2011. The University of Pennsylvania set a school record for annual giving in 2011, marking a 14 percent increase over the previous year.