Alumni Giving Mobilizes Around Student Experience and Need
Giving to Dartmouth Tops $277 million in a year of virtual fundraising
During a time of unprecedented challenges, the Dartmouth community generously committed $277.2 million in philanthropic giving in the fiscal year that ended June 30, with a special emphasis on programs directly benefiting students.
Just over a year ago, Dartmouth students were attending classes remotely and many Dartmouth families were experiencing financial uncertainty due to the pandemic. In addition, the 2020–21 academic year revealed and heightened pressures on individual students in the context of mental health challenges and a national reckoning on racial bias and inequity.
Rising to meet immediate and long-term student need, the community responded with resolve. Donors established 70 endowed scholarships, a fiscal year record; the College announced a series of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and enhanced mental health services for students; and Dartmouth affirmed its leadership in the realm of technology with major investments to address the STEM diversity gap and research into “just communities.”
Annual giving remained robust as alumni rallied to support the College’s scholarship commitments. Alumni gave $42.9 million to the Dartmouth College Fund, an increase over the previous year and equal to the fiscal 2020 participation level of 37 percent. Tuck Annual Giving recorded its most successful year, receiving $9 million in unrestricted giving; the Thayer School Annual Fund notched its second-best year; and giving to the Geisel Annual Fund rose by more than 50 percent over the previous year.
“It was a year like no other. There was no play book for an annual fund conducted 100 percent virtually,” says Stephen McKenna ’91, chair of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee. “This is where our inventive and adventuresome nature as a community rose to get the job done. Through group and individual Zoom and Facetime calls, texting, and email, class agents brought their networks to life. Peer to peer, classmate to classmate, they made the case for supporting Dartmouth.”
Enhanced digital engagement introduced during the past year included:
- The launch of Dartmouth NEXT, an online forum exploring contemporary issues and engaging in conversations around the world’s great challenges—its programming has attracted more than 25,000 viewers from 115 countries and all 50 states, and the Short Talks on Big Ideas faculty series has garnered more than 150,000 views within the Dartmouth community and beyond
- Virtual reunions that offered faculty talks, campus tours, and opportunities to connect with classmates
- A rich mix of virtual presentations and interactive discussions hosted by each school
The Call to Lead campaign meets the moment to address societal challenges
Dartmouth is seven years into a comprehensive campaign that has inspired a record investment in the institution’s strategic vision. The Call to Lead campaign has significantly strengthened access and affordability for students, intensified interdisciplinary research, and expanded experiential learning opportunities, all while preparing future generations of leaders. The past year saw four major initiatives fuel the campaign’s efforts:
- Dartmouth rededicated The Call to Lead and made financial aid the top campaign priority to help students and families suffering economically because of the pandemic. The response was swift and resounding. The Dartmouth community committed a record $68.5 million in endowed scholarship giving in fiscal 2021, $15.6 million of that dedicated to the graduate and professional schools.
The 70 endowed scholarships created during the year brought the campaign total for scholarship endowment commitments to nearly 400. With this investment, Dartmouth expanded eligibility for full-tuition scholarships by raising the family income threshold to $125,000, up from $100,000. In addition, community members committed $8 million to a special Bridge to Recovery Scholarship Fund to help students with significant immediate financial concerns.
- The College announced a $60 million goal for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, including more aggressive recruitment of Black, Indigenous, and people of color candidates for faculty and staff positions and establishment of the Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life and the Tribal Sovereignty Research Lab.
- Dartmouth announced a $20 million gift from Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe ’81 and John Donahoe ’82 to enhance the success of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including expansion of the E.E. Just Program, named for the pioneering African American scientist. Another effort, led by the Class of ’82, supports undergraduate research related to racial justice, provides training on systemic racism, and established the African and African American Academic Enrichment Fund.
“The College’s focus on and investment in DEI talent, infrastructure, and initiatives is refreshing and speaks more inclusively for The Call to Lead,” says Barry Caldwell ’82, a member of the Campaign Executive Committee. “Witnessing the early and meaningful response from classmates and others is very encouraging as it evidences alumni eagerness to see Dartmouth’s leadership in the space.”
- Introducing an innovative project with global scope, Dartmouth established the Susan and James Wright Center for the Study of Computation and Just Communities, dedicated to researching and advancing democratic, equitable societies. Made possible by a $15.5 million gift from Sally and William H. Neukom ’64, the center is intensifying Dartmouth’s focus on the role of computation in informing essential questions about good governance, human rights, and the relationship between citizens and their governments.
- Dartmouth announced a $17 million initiative to expand mental health and wellness services, including recruitment of five diverse mental health providers who will provide specialized expertise to address complex care issues. The Young Alumni Campaign Advisory Committee has taken a leadership position in this important push to provide enhanced counseling and services for Dartmouth students.
A campaign mobilizing all alumni
The work of young alumni reflects the agency within The Call to Lead, which has engaged diverse and emerging philanthropic communities to help shape Dartmouth’s future.
Dartmouth women solidified their position as national trailblazers for alumnae philanthropy in higher education in the past year. More than 2,700 alumnae have given to the renovation of Dartmouth Hall; the deadline to participate in this endeavor is December 31, 2021.
Giving from international alumni has increased more than 500 percent over the previous campaign, affirming Dartmouth’s efforts to build stronger connections with alumni and parents outside the U.S.
The final phase
Through the end of fiscal 2021, The Call to Lead had mobilized more than 90,000 members of the Dartmouth community—including 56 percent of all alumni—and the fundraising total was nearing the campaign goal.
As the campaign enters its final phase, Dartmouth is focusing on $390 million in remaining programmatic priorities organized around three principal themes:
Attracting the most talented students through financial aid—Dartmouth is striving to secure $500 million in scholarship endowment commitments during the campaign, dedicated to the principle that talented students come from families across all income levels and that all students benefit from learning in a socioeconomically diverse undergraduate community.
Sparking innovation and creativity through integrated learning districts—Dartmouth is completing fundraising for two buildings in the West End of campus that will redefine and expand technology education opportunities for our students; the College is about to launch a major renovation of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, which will complete Dartmouth’s Arts District and inspire all students to explore the arts as a component of their educational experience.
Supporting a healthy and welcoming campus community—The College is continuing to focus on initiatives to ensure that the Dartmouth campus is diverse, safe, and healthy for all members of the community.