Foundation sets lofty goal to help New College flourish

Amid times of economic uncertainty, New College is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. The New College Foundation is gearing up for the festivities by organizing events and campaigns to raise private funds in an effort to create growth within the college and to establish long-term relationships with new donors.

“We have identified about $130 million worth of need at the college — a lot of which is to build the college’s endowment,” President and CEO of the New College Foundation Andy Walker said. “We need more central unrestricted endowment to support faculty salaries and the growth of the faculty. Non-profits lag the economy by a year or two for a variety of reasons, so this year is probably going to be the worst so far for the effects of the recession.”

The New College Foundation plans to raise its budget by $200,000 to $250,000. Walker said that much of the money will be used upgrade positions and hire campaign consultants.

Walker explained that while New College still gets much of its main funding from legislative allocations, the Foundation aims to raise “enhancement money.”

“The core support for the college comes from the state and what we are trying to do is add to the experience and provide money that really adds to the academic campus quality of life,” said Walker.

Walker explained that the Foundation raised just under $5 million last year in outright gifts and planned gifts such as future bequests. The 2009 – 2010 fiscal year brought in three times as many donations as the year before.

In addition to their normal fundraising efforts, the Foundation has created the 1960s Society to honor the college’s founding. Walker said the Foundation has a goal of 200 members and that they are a little over a quarter of the way there.

“We are asking alums, members of the community, parents and others to make gifts of $1,960 or some variation on that,” he explained. “Those funds are being used to support the college’s celebration, but also to launch a multimillion dollar campaign tied to the 50th anniversary. This is the start of a number of 50th anniversaries. 1960 was the charter and the first class [entered in] 1964, so we have about seven years of 50th anniversary celebrations ahead of us. We want to do a seven-year fundraising campaign to build the college endowments and just prepare the college for the next 50 years.”

Walker noted that “2009- 2010 was considered a very good year under any circumstances. That will make it that much more challenging to meet that pace. The good news is that through the first quarter of the year, our year starts July 1, we are slightly ahead of the pace for last year’s fundraising.”

Besides the college’s endowment, Walker aims to raise $2.5 million for an International Studies building. Other money raised could help support a scientific computer lab and help furnish the Black Box Theater with essentials such as props and costumes.

“I would say that the most important thing is that we have in terms of our real priorities when you look just beyond the dollars, we need to build a much larger group of supporters for the college,” he concluded. “We had a great number of regional founders who wrote really large checks time and time again to support the college. Those people have gotten beyond the point in their lives, if they are still alive in fact, to be able to write those kind of checks. We don’t yet have enough new people, young people, who are filling in their shoes. On the plus side though, we also have an alumni group that is starting to reach its peak earning years and starting to think about giving back to the college. I think what you will see over the next few years is a lot more support from alumni and at the same time a lot of younger donors that are going to give to New College.”

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