Heidi Boothe bequeaths $3 million in her daughter's name, an alum of NCF

New College has received its second-largest individual gift in its history from the estate of Heidi H. Boothe, the mother of New College alum Sharon Boothe Rider (‘71), who unexpectedly died from an illness in 2004. The $3 million gift is a combination of monetary and property assets – about 100 acres of land from the Boothe estate – and was bequeathed by Heidi Boothe in her daughter’s honor. According to newcollegeofflorida.wordpress.com, this gift is only surpassed in the college’s history by the $3.752 million gift in 2004 from the estate of Jane Bancroft Cook, whose name now graces the university’s library.

This gift, in addition to all other donations given to the Foundation at this time, will go toward the $60 million New College Promise Campaign, which has raised $20 million of its goal. However, the Boothe gift will be put toward an endowment inside the Campaign, where it will grow assets for the college’s future.

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy database of America’s top donors, Florida colleges and universities that received donations of $1 million and over include: University of South Florida Health with $20 million from Frank and Carol Morsani; University of Miami with $4.2 million from the estate of Mary B. Hecht; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with $1 million from the Fanjul family; Florida Gulf Coast University with $3 million from Janet G. Cohen; Florida Keys Community College with $3 million from William A. Seeker; University of North Florida Foundation with $1 million from David A. Stein; New College with $1 million from Beverly Koski.

“After we get it, it will be untouched,” New College Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy Dennis Stover said in an interview with the Catalyst.  “The only part of it that we will touch will be a four percent payout each year for the college.” Once a year has passed after the assets have reached the Foundation, four percent of the gift goes back to the college. “It will take a while for this gift to actualize because we have to sell the property,” Stover said. The selling of the land will be handled by former senator, New College Promise Campaign Vice-Chair and Boothe estate attorney Bob Johnson.

“This gift didn’t include naming,” Stover said. “But we will honor Heidi on the college in some shape or form.”  The Foundation is getting ready to install a new electronic board in the Academic Center to recognize donors on a regular basis.

According to newcollegeofflorida.wordpress.com, Boothe, who died at the age of 90 on Oct. 10, owned and operated a cattle ranch in the area and was one of the first female pilots to join the Sarasota Flying Club. Her daughter concentrated in general studies at New College, was a Botanical Illustrator for Selby Gardens in Sarasota and taught advanced art studies in London, England. At the time of her death, she was survived by her husband Chester.

“We’re extremely grateful,” Stover said. “These kinds of gifts are kind of the ‘ah ha’ within a campaign. Once it’s executed, it’s a sad occurrence for the family, but it really gets to honor the person who wants to make a significant gift to New College. People’s reactions have kind of been over the moon.”

For Stover, gifts such as Boothe’s are transformational. “It leads the way for other people to do similar or more to the college,” he said. “It builds our reputation and credibility as an institution that can manage that kind of money and uses that money effectively. The word transformational comes to mind when you get a gift of that size, because it can transform the way we do some part of our business here at the college. It comes at an opportune time with cutback from the government side of our budget.”

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