Bryn Mawr’s Class of 2009 Sets New Giving Standard

Posted August 17th, 2009 at 3:09 pm.

At a time when donations to colleges and universities are down nationwide, Bryn Mawr’s class of 2009 set new benchmarks in showing its generous support of the College.

Seventy-six percent of the class gave a total of $4,732, easily eclipsing marks of 61 percent participation and $3,794 raised by the class of 2007. The College received 251 gifts from members of the class, ranging in value from $1 to $500. As part of the effort to garner class enthusiasm, seniors were encouraged to, and most often gave, a gift of $20.09.

Class of 2009 Co-Presidents Deep Sing and Trina Banerji on the Senior Dinner Cruise with President Jane McAuliffe

Class of 2009 Co-Presidents Deep Sing and Trina Banerji on the Senior Dinner Cruise with President Jane McAuliffe

As with so many things at Bryn Mawr, the senior gift program is largely a student-driven enterprise. The senior gift committee was made up of 12 members of the class of 2009, including class co-presidents Trina Banerji and Deep Singh and committee chair Lauren Valenski.

“We’ll provide all the support in the world, but at the end of the day it’s all about the effort of the committee and students embracing the cause,” says Assistant Director of Annual Giving Lauren Craley.

“Our class has been dedicated, as a whole, to supporting Bryn Mawr. We are so proud that we have made history with such a great contribution,” says Singh.

Many schools inflate senior gift-giving numbers by creating a fee or something that students can opt to use as a gift instead of having it credited back to them—but not Bryn Mawr.

“We think it’s important to treat seniors with the same respect as alumnae. Your first gift to the College shouldn’t be a simple matter of convenience but should be part of the foundation of a transition from one sphere of the Bryn Mawr community to the other,” says Craley.

The impressive numbers are part of an overall trend in which the percentage of seniors giving gifts has tripled in the last decade.

“We’ve had some up years and down years, but the trend line has been very good,” says Chief Development Officer Donna Frithsen.

Increased giving by young alumnae this year has not been limited to the Class of 2009.

The GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) classes are currently the largest group of alumnae in the Bryn Mawr College community, making up nearly 22 percent of the entire alumnae population.

This year, nearly 900 recent graduates—28 percent of all GOLD alumnae—made a gift to the Annual Fund, which supports student internships, scholarships, faculty enhancement, and other College programs.

“There have been a lot of comments in the press about the Millennial Generation being the most optimistic, charitable, and participatory since the Greatest Generation. They’re certainly making a case for themselves here at Bryn Mawr,” says Frithsen.

The generosity of both the senior class and the GOLD alumnae are also noteworthy because each group met matching gift targets.

Trustee Emeritus Ruth Kaiser Nelson ’58 made a generous gift of $20,000 that will be split evenly among the ten GOLD classes. An anonymous donor made an additional gift of $5,000 that was split between the Classes of 2006 and 2007, who tied for most improved participation in giving (30 percent and 41 percent respectively).

Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe challenged the class of 2009 by offering $100 to the Annual Fund for each participation percentage point above 61 percent, and a bonus of $1,000 if more than 75 percent of the class made a gift.

“It is absolutely wonderful that members of the class of 2009 expressed their value for Bryn Mawr in such a tangible way, and made this generous graduation gift to the College,” says McAuliffe.

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