By ANNIE SGROI ’15
The Wellesley Fund held its third annual meeting Wednesday night in Pendleton Atrium to introduce the senior gift to the class of 2014. Assistant Vice President for Resources Kimberly Hokanson and Director of the Wellesley Fund Laura Christian gave an overview of how the Wellesley Fund and general fundraising operations function at Wellesley to the students in attendance.
In addition to running its annual operations, the Wellesley Fund is now beginning to plan a capital campaign that will begin in 2016. While not a part of the campus renewal plan, this capital campaign may provide some funds that would be used to fill areas of budgetary need for the renovations. According to Assistant Director of the Wellesley Fund Jessica Telemaque, the 2016 fundraising campaign is currently in a silent phase. Although there is some outreach to donors taking place, most of the work being done is on internal planning within the Office of Resources and Public Affairs.
“It’s more or less that we’re planting the seeds right now,” Telemaque said. “We have a board that is specifically planning and strategically planning how we will go about that so as far as details.”
The Wellesley Fund raises current-use unrestricted funds for the college, meaning that it seeks donations given without a specified purpose. The funds raised are used to provide budgetary relief for areas of need on campus, to support a specific initiative such as academics or athletics or to help Wellesley offer competitive financial aid packages.
“It’s going towards bettering classrooms, campus life, even if it’s something as simple as changing light bulbs, the things that are happening everyday here on campus,” Telemaque said. “You can see the Wellesley Fund as sort of a checking account whereas the endowment would be seen as a savings account.”
According to Christian, the Wellesley Fund is focused on meeting its goals before the end of the fiscal year in June. Its fundraising goal this year is to raise $10.5 million and have 50 percent participation among alums. In 2013, the total amount raised was $9.4 million and in 2012 it was $9.2 million. So far this fiscal year, the Wellesley Fund has raised $6.4 million.
Christian explained that many of Wellesley’s peer schools in the US News and World Report Top 10 have well over 50 percent participation from alums. Meeting or surpassing a participation rate between 50 and 60 percent is a priority for the Office of Resources and Public Affairs.
“That’s also an educational piece,” Christian said. “It’s talking with alums and explaining that $10 gifts are super important, because it’s adding your voice to the big picture and conveying that message that you believe in the college just as much as the person next to you or just as much Bates believes in Bates or Williams believes in Williams.”
Lauren Chen ’14 is a supervisor at Wellesley College Phonathon, a program that has Wellesley students call alums to ask for donations to the Wellesley Fund. Chen says has seen the very spirit Christian is hoping to foster throughout her eight semesters with Phonathon.
“The program reinforces the idea that current Wellesley students and past Wellesley students are, and will always be, connected, “ Chen said. “Something that’s very important to me, personally, is to always maintain a sense of perspective in life. Working with other Wellesley students and talking to alums of all ages is a constant reminder of the world outside of Wellesley which both inspires me and keeps me grounded.”