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PSS Fall '09 - From Theory to Practice

Alumni & Alumnae News

Alums "Join the Chairs" in Support of HWS

Join the Chairs

by Jen Nesbit

This June, all HWS alums were urged to "Join the Chairs" and make a gift to the Annual Fund.

Inspired by the great results from the April 2008 "Make the Chairman Pay" campaign, Chairman of the Board of Trustees David Deming '75, along with former Board Chairs L. Thomas Melly '52, L.H.D. '02, Roderic Ross '52, LL.D. '79 and Charles Salisbury, Jr. '63, P'94, L.H.D. '08, collectively committed $150 for each gift made to the Annual Fund during the month of June

"At a difficult economic time, we're all in this together - we're asking all alums to come join us to help HWS maintain forward momentum and not lose the traction of recent years," said Salisbury.

Through a series of postcards and e-mails, the playful campaign depicted the Chairs as the faces of Mount Rushmore. "Mt. Rushmore is a symbol of determination and commitment," says Director of Annual Giving Kristen Einstein. "That's exactly what we wanted from our alums."

Determination and commitment is what HWS received - the final count for gifts given during the month of June was 886, almost 500 more gifts than the 390 gifts pledged in June 2008. The alumni and alumnae participation rate increased nearly five percent, from 25.89 percent to 30.31 percent. This great response leveraged $133,000 from the Chairs.

"The results are very impressive," notes Einstein. "The numbers show that alums are thinking of HWS as a worthwhile investment."

Einstein and her team hope to continue to build on this success in the coming year and convince donors to renew their support. They note that if every alum who made a gift in the last five years were to make a gift during the 2010 fund year, the participation rate would jump from just over 30 percent to a solid 51 percent. Increased participation can boost national rankings and provides the Colleges flexibility to respond to the immediate needs of the campus community, such as increased financial aid.

"We are thrilled that so many alums joined us this year, even if that meant we had to put our faces on the side of a mountain," says Deming. "The broad participation of our alumni and alumnae is significant because of the real and vital impact that these gifts have on the Colleges' operating budget and the tangible difference they make in the lives of HWS students."