As construction nears, college seeks donors

By Patrick Malloy

As Macalester prepares to break ground on a $41 million athletic facility and begin planning buildings for the Institute for Global Citizenship and a new Fine Arts center, administrators are pinning their hopes on a fundraising drive to support the projects.

The college’s Development office has set the tentative goal of raising $150 million in five years to fund various projects as well as the endowment.

“That is a working goal,” said Heather Riddle, Director of Individual Gifts. The college will see how effective fundraising efforts are and then decide on a firm goal by the summer of 2008, she said.

This campaign is the largest in Macalester’s history. During the early 1980s, Macalester completed a $26.7 million campaign that helped build the DeWitt Wallace Library. More recently, Macalester concluded a campaign to raise $50 million by 2000 in order to fund the Campus Center, the operating budget and the endowment. According to Tommy Bonner, Vice President for Advancement, who heads the current campaign, the fund drive in 2000, which ultimately yielded $55 million, exceeded its goal by $5 million.

Despite having already raised $52 million for the current campaign, it is not yet a public undertaking.

“We’re still in the quiet phase,” Bonner explained.

Typically, fundraising campaigns begin with little publicity, and when they are well-established, schools will name them and make them public.

“You won’t hear much about the campaign for a year,” said Bonner. “It’s all one-on-one conversations [with potential donors] now.”

For the $41 million dollar athletic facility, Bonner is aiming to fund $24 to $26 million through capital campaign donations. Donors have already committed $12.3 million.

For the Fine Arts facility, which will likely cost about $65 million although plans are not finalized, Bonner plans to raise about $25 million through donations. The college has received commitments for $3 million.

A single donor has committed $3 million for the Institute for Global Citizenship.

The largest portion of the campaign, $80 million, will go to support the endowment. The endowment funds financial aid, study abroad, research, the Institute for Global Citizenship and other programs.

Of the programs the endowment funds, “Need-based financial aid is the largest part,” Bonner said. For this year, $25 million is budgeted for financial aid, but most of it comes out of the operating budget.

The interest on the $35 million dollars administrators hope to deposit into the endowment will be used to partially fund financial aid, meaning more of the operating budget will be available to spend on other programs.

When asked if Macalester would consider returning to need-blind admissions in light of the campaign, Bonner said: “We’re not going to revisit it now.”

Administrators will evaluate the system in several years and decide how to proceed after that, Bonner said.

In addition to the $3 million already raised for it, the Institute for Global Citizenship will also be funded by the endowment. As the Institute’s scope expands, Macalester hopes to add a building for it. Through the Institute for Global Citizenship, the campaign will help pay for the costs of starting and expanding a study abroad program in Maastricht, Netherlands called Comparative Globalizations Program. The program is beginning this academic year.

Money raised will also help to defray some of the costs for study abroad for students who cannot afford it.

“We want everyone who wants to study abroad to get that opportunity,” Bonner said.

There are three major fundraising efforts underway: fund drives run by the Annual Fund, soliciting large individual gifts for the endowment, and soliciting donations from foundations and corporations.

About 60 students will soon begin work in the Lampert Building making phone calls, emailing and sending letters to solicit donations for the Annual Fund, which supports about five percent of the operating budget.

“The new telemarketing season has yet to begin,” said David Espinoza ’10, who works in Lampert. “We’re still in the training process.”

The college predicts that over the next five years, the Annual Fund will raise about $20 million to contribute to the operating budget.

The second effort, which Riddle manages, focuses on raising money for the endowment.

“We work mostly with families that can make one-time gifts of $50,000 [to the endowment],” she said.

About 85 percent of fundraising comes from individuals and families, which is reflected in the fact that nearly all buildings on campus are named for individuals, not corporations or foundations.

The final effort is to raise money from corporations and foundations. Foundations are typically non-profit and account for 10 percent of fundraising per year. Major corporations in the Twin Cities, like 3M, account for five percent of annual fundraising.

The college plans to take out loans, spend savings and sell bonds in order to begin construction projects before the capital campaign is complete.