A History of Giving at Grinnell College

Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2009 4:12 pm

1846 -- Trustee James J. Hill created the College's endowment with a single silver dollar on the table.    

1882 -- After a cyclone ravaged the campus just before Commencement in 1882, the College rallied, with the help of local leader J.B. Grinnell, to raise the funds to completely rebuild the campus.

1910s -- President John H.T. Main's "Campaigns of Progress" raised enough money to begin his building plan, which would culminate in the Quad and the North Campus residence halls.

1920s -- By 1921, Main's campaign to raise $3.5 million -- with a $500,000 grant from the General Education Board -- had faltered. The debt from the previous decade's building projects was pulling the College down.

1930s -- By 1930, Main was still trying to repay the College's debts. He hoped to raise the $1 million demanded by the General Education Board, which was holding out the promised $500,000. Finally, the board offered $316,000 and abandoned the debt issue. A letter with the good news arrived on President Main's desk on April 1, 1931 -- just hours after Main had died.

1904 -- The Carnegie Corporation gave the College $50,000 for the endowment of the library.

1946 -- On the occasion of the College's Centennial, President Samuel Stevens announced a campaign to raise $1 million for Darby Gym. Gifts from Oklahoma businessman J. Frederick Darby 1895 provided a large part of the building funds for the gym, which was named in his honor.

1970s -- Grinnell set up its class fund director structure to give a personal touch to fundraising efforts.

1978 -- The College formalized the trustee development committee.

1995 -- President Pam Ferguson led a campaign to raise $75 million for the Robert N. Noyce '49 Science Center and the Matthew and Carolyn Swartz '51 Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The campaign surpassed its goal by $13 million.

2001 -- A bequest from Joe Rosenfield '25 -- the largest in the College's history -- brought the College $25 million. Rosenfield's total lifetime giving to Grinnell topped $47 million.

 

Originaly published as an online web extra for The Grinnell Magazine, Summer 2009