In a year defined by unexpected challenges, Hamiltonians made sure that their college had the resources to respond and overcome. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, employees, students, and friends, more than $7.2 million was raised for the 2019-20 Hamilton Fund. Some 40 percent of alumni contributed, a participation rate that set the College apart from many of its peers. In a year when most experienced declines of 5 percentage points or more, Hamilton dropped only 1 point from fiscal year 2019.
As the fund year kicked off last July, the College announced that the 2019-20 Hamilton Fund would be designated for financial aid to celebrate the 10th anniversary of need-blind admission. This initiative inspired Because Hamilton Day, the biggest give day in Hamilton’s history, with 3,658 donors, two new scholarships funded, and more than $3 million raised.
Then came the pandemic and, with it, unanticipated challenges. As faculty pivoted from in-person to remote instruction midway through the spring semester, fundraising initiatives transitioned as well. The College introduced new giving opportunities focused on immediate student needs. Among those was the opportunity to direct gifts to the Student Emergency Aid Society (SEAS), which provides funding for such expenses as unmet medical costs or travel to a career-related activity for students whose financial barriers are extraordinary. The Career Center also made internship funding available to seniors who faced a challenging entry into the job market.
“Hamiltonians everywhere stepped up and supported the College in unprecedented ways during an unprecedented time,” said Vice President for Advancement Lori Dennison ’87, P’16. “When their own life situations were anything but certain, so many reached out to ask, ‘How can I help the College? What can I do for students?’ That dedication was truly inspiring.”
As late spring approached and the fund year was drawing to a close, College advancement officers again responded to a request from students and alumni — this time around support for Hamilton’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programming in the wake of national protests against racial injustice. A total of $139,486 was raised to support this effort.
Alumni, parents, and friends have established a culture of philanthropy through their loyal and generous support of students and faculty.
All told, as the books closed on the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Because Hamilton campaign, of which the Hamilton Fund is a part, exceeded the $300 million mark, bringing it three-quarters of the way to its goal with three years remaining.
“These results, while heartening, remind us that what we are really celebrating is the unwavering commitment of so many people who were behind every dollar given to Hamilton this year,” Dennison added. “To those supporting Hamilton students and for continuing the legacy of access to a Hamilton education, we applaud you and are immensely grateful.”