20 Year Challenge
Report from the Alumni Council's Pioneer Fund Development Committee
The Pioneer Fund Development Committee, chaired by Matthew Welch '96 and Lee Weisel '62, works closely with the Office of College and Alumni Relations staff to increase overall alumni giving and increase the number of unrestricted Pioneer Fund leadership gifts ($1,500). We also provide counsel to the director of the Pioneer Fund, Severin Roberts. We interface with class fund directors (CFDs), who are the true fundraising engine for Grinnell. Under Severin's expert direction, the CFDs and staff made this past fiscal year a record for unrestricted gifts, with $2.54 million given to the College by alumni, parents, corporations, foundations, and other organizations.
Through the continuing generosity of alumni and other supporters, the Pioneer Fund is on a growth track. This growth has enabled the College to provide a cap on need-based loans to current and future students. Funding the cap on need-based student loans requires continued and increasing support from alumni. The trustees' decision to cap need-based student loans is a call to action for the committee, the staff, and all Grinnell alumni to increase both the amount of giving and the number of donors.
While overall giving increased from 2006-07 to 2007-08, the College did not meet its goal of growing the number of alumni donors contributing to the Pioneer Fund. Alumni giving remained essentially flat, at 38 percent of total alumni. We need to increase the percentage of alumni giving this year. Not only is alumni giving a critical means of support for current students, but it is also a measure used for college rankings (often as a proxy for alumni satisfaction with the College), and foundations and corporations often base their giving on alumni support (why give to a college unless its former students also support it?). We hope each alumnus will increase his or her donation this year. We also hope a greater percentage of our alumni will donate. We believe in a culture of participation, whereby alumni support the Grinnell students of today and tomorrow.
To increase the donor base among alumni Grinnell has instituted a challenge to the 20 most recent classes -- the Twenty-Year Challenge -- whereby special efforts will be directed toward the members of classes graduating from 1989-2009. With emphasis on participation among recent classes, peer representatives have been asked to contact non-participating members of their respective classes.
To increase the reach and effectiveness of our committee, we are recruiting a select group of leadership donors to join us in soliciting alumni to become leadership donors. Our first volunteer is Mark Hill '91.
Thanks again for your support of Grinnell College during the 2007-08 year. We welcome your support for the 2008-09 year.
Lee Weisel '62 (co-chair)
Matthew Welch '96 (co-chair)
Joan Egenes '58
Mary Brooner '71
Marc Bass '88
Kirpal Singh '97
Mark Hill '91