Donors look forward, give back, to MHC.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 11:15am

Once again, Mount Holyoke supporters have demonstrated what College founder Mary Lyon knew right from the start: working together, with gifts large and small, we can ensure that Mount Holyoke will prepare women to lead change for years to come.

Alumnae, parents, and friends of Mount Holyoke showed their support by giving generously—$37.5 million in new gifts and pledges—during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014. The largest gift received was $4 million, with $2 million directed to the endowment; the largest bequest intention was $3 million.

In all, more than $20 million was given to the endowment—the lifeblood of the College. Gifts designated to support scholarships topped endowment giving, followed by gifts for academic departments and internships funds.

"We are thrilled by the extraordinarily generous giving in this first year following The Campaign for Mount Holyoke," says Vice President for Advancement MaryAnne Young ’81. "Mount Holyoke alumnae know their gifts have an immediate and very positive ripple effect here on campus and around the world. We especially want to thank the many volunteers whose dedication and hard work made this year such a success."

The class of 1964, in particular, gave back in a big way, proving that together, Mount Holyoke women can indeed accomplish great things: 1964 alums gave $1,339,985 to The Mount Holyoke Fund to mark their fiftieth reunion and, altogether, have given nearly $10.1 million since their forty-fifth reunion five years ago.

During 2013–2014, approximately 70 percent of Mount Holyoke students received need-based scholarship aid from the College totaling $45 million—which means alumnae giving continues to be critical to ensuring that a Mount Holyoke education is accessible to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. For this reason, the College is highly committed to increasing the alumnae participation rate—which in fiscal year 2014 was 33 percent.

"Alumnae responded enthusiastically and generously to the new initiatives we launched this year," says Jill Stern ’84, director of The Mount Holyoke Fund. "Participation during FebruMary—which utilized social media in fun ways throughout the month of Mary Lyon's birth—was amazing. Gifts from young alums went up 824 percent for that one month. Senior gifts increased by 196 percent!"

During April, Thank an Alum Days educated students about the impact of alumnae giving and gave them opportunities to express their appreciation by writing thank-you postcards to alums and sharing online via social media. "The stories on the Thank an Alum Days Tumblr were moving examples of how deeply Mount Holyoke women, past and present, are connected throughout their lives," says Stern.

And in June, the $1 million for Mount Holyoke initiative, seeded by a $100,000 gift from trustee Liz Cochary Gross '79, resulted in 1,550 gifts to The Mount Holyoke Fund in just one week. Every gift, in every amount, from $5 to $25,000, was matched—and all are having an immediate, positive impact.

Thanks to donor support, more MHC students than ever are forging meaningful connections between their academic interests and real-world opportunities. This summer, for example, 55 percent more students are doing internships. They're working in the Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit at UNICEF; they're doing research on urban development and water infrastructure for the Department of State; they're interning at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

"This year, as always, Mount Holyoke women around the globe looked forward and gave back," says Young. "We are grateful for their generosity and unwavering belief in Mount Holyoke's mission to prepare students to face the future with confidence."

—By Bonnie Sennott