Hampshire College's 2011 graduates rose to the occasion.
Over 250 of the 311 students making up this year's class contributed to the Graduate Gift Challenge, which led to an anonymous donor presenting an additional $100,000 matching gift to the Hampshire Fund. Annual Giving Program Coordinator Sarah Danson 06F notes that with the challenge, it wasn't the size of the gift that mattered. The important thing was that students got involved.
"The goal of the program is to create a culture of philanthropy, and I think having any gift count towards a matching gift is one of the best ways to do that," she said.
The anonymous donor matched every gift from a graduating student with $200. Once the class reached 50 percent participation, or 150 students, he presented another $50,000, bringing the match tally to $80,000. The big push to 250 students and 83 percent class participation, which netted an additional $20,000 pledge and a $100,000 total tally, continued into commencement weekend.
"Now there's a feeling that we accomplished something really big. In some ways it's almost as gratifying as finishing my Div III. Not quite, but almost," said Danson, who credits a lot of student, faculty, and staff involvement for the success of the Graduate Gift Challenge.
Sasha Allegretta-Fuller 07F, a member of the gift challenge committee, spent many hours talking to her fellow graduates over the final weeks of the academic year. She was thrilled to see the contributions really start flooding in on the Thursday before commencement.
"That was really the tipping point. There was a rush of people giving after the mandatory graduation meeting. So many more people gave that day than expected, we received 40 or 50 gifts," said Allegretta-Fuller. "It sets a really good precedent for future classes."
In addition to the anonymous donor, Professor of Art History Sura Levine and Associate Professor of English Literature and Cultural Studies Lise Sanders gave $1,000 each in matching the first 100 students to give.
The Hampshire Fund supports the most critical needs of the College. For information on how you might support the Hampshire Fund, contact Bridget Leung-Ingram 94F at 413.559.5391 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.