Accomplish Great Things

July 30, 2009

TO: Board of Trustees, Senior Staff, Trustee Development Committee, Campaign Steering Committee, Development Staff

FROM: Leslie Anne Miller '73, Campaign Cochair; Barbara M. Baumann '77, Campaign Cochair; Charles Haight, Vice President for Development

Campaign Update/Timing

Launched in the fall of 2006, The Campaign for Mount Holyoke has made an important difference in the financial success of the College.  It has carried forward the momentum of the overwhelmingly successful previous campaign (which ended in December 2003) and has led to MHC’s best-year-ever for gift revenue in FY 2008 at $42 million.  Currently, the Campaign total is at $178.5 million.

Since June '08, however, the world has changed in ways that few could have foreseen. The resulting challenges to the Campaign have become obvious as we have monitored gift totals during FY09. These challenges have prompted us to weigh the options of making changes in the goals and timing of the Campaign.  We want to thank all members of the campaign leadership for their attention to these important issues, their ideas, and for their continued good work on behalf of Mount Holyoke.

As we end the fiscal year and look ahead to the final two and a half years of the Campaign, we want to give you an update on where we stand.  During the spring semester, the Trustee Development Committee, Campaign Steering Committee, and the leadership of the College and Campaign held a number of conversations about the effects of the financial downturn.  After carefully considering various options and planning scenarios, we rejected taking any action that would back off our goal of $300 million.  Instead, we agreed that we need to continue our efforts to raise these much needed funds, and found that our volunteer base became energized by timely and very successful Campaign events in New York, Washington, Boston, and elsewhere.  A redoubling of our communication efforts has also spotlighted the Campaign in new and different print, electronic, and multimedia formats. 

The consensus of the leadership groups has been to go forward as follows:

  • Restate our intention to raise $300 million for Mount Holyoke by December 31, 2011.
  • Make clear that the leadership of the Campaign will track closely the effect of the financial downturn on our Campaign success.
  • Prepare to make difficult decisions on the timing for the Campaign as we monitor our progress.
  • Continue to communicate our progress at our scheduled Campaign Steering Committee and Trustee Development meetings this fall. 
  • Continue to focus on our highest and most important core institutional priorities in our campaign communications plan, as discussed in our spring semester meetings:  financial aid and faculty support funded through gifts to the endowment and Annual Fund.  We will also continue to market our capital projects that are part of the College’s overall capital plan, in particular the Campaign projects in athletics and the new residence hall.

All of us will continue to partner with the Development Office staff in Major Gifts and the Annual Fund to take advantage of opportunities with specific prospects.  And, perhaps, most importantly, we will support the many development calls and events that Joanne Creighton has planned for the final year of her presidency.

We look forward to the months ahead and the work we all can do to make this Campaign a success.

Thank you, again, for all you do for Mount Holyoke. We wish you the very best for a pleasant and enjoyable August. 

Mount Holyoke College
50 College Street • South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075-1485
800-MHC-GIVE •