Number of Alumni Giving to the Kenyon Fund Drops to a Record Low

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While Kenyon is still basking in the afterglow of the success of the "Claiming Our Place" campaign and the recent record-breaking $25-million gift to support the new fitness, recreation, and athletic program, there is news that is not so good: the number of alumni that support the Kenyon Fund has quietly dropped to an all-time low of 39 percent, a figure that doesn't reflect the positive survey statistics above.

One of the biggest challenges faced by those who raise money for the Kenyon Fund, which is classified as unrestricted money used to support the College's budget, including money for scholarships, is helping alumni to realize that no gift is too small. "I think when people see the College raising millions of dollars they wonder if a gift of $25 or $50 will matter," says Director of Alumni and Parent Programs Lisa Schott. "But the answer is a resounding yes!"

The amount of money raised for the Kenyon Fund has increased dramatically in the past five years, but the low participation rate of Kenyon's alumni has a negative effect on the College's rank in national surveys, including the one published each fall by U.S. News and World Report. Kenyon ranks in the top quartile of its peer colleges for the average annual fund gift given by alumni, but Kenyon ranks twelfth out of seventeen in the overall rate of participation.

In the coming academic year, the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee and the Alumni Council will work closely with the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs to examine how to increase alumni participation in the Kenyon Fund. The staff has set a goal of reaching 50 percent participation by the year 2007. The last year that alumni participation reached 50 percent was the 1978 - 79 academic year. In the coming months, specific activities and communications will be developed to get the word out about why it will make a difference to Kenyon if alumni remember to support their alma mater with a gift to the Kenyon Fund that fits their personal budget.