Recent Gifts Kickstart Agenda for Distinction Goals
Financial gifts propel Merrimack forward, strengthen our competitive position, and improve our ability to inspire students with innovative programs and experiences that extend far beyond the classroom. Great strides are being made toward Agenda for Distinction goals, with friends and alumni around the world making strategic investments in Merrimack College. In fact, in recent months, Merrimack has been the benefactor of several large financial gifts.
While transformational gifts are critical to shaping an institution and fueling its growth, equally important is broad- based growth in terms of alumni participation. College rankings, like those in US News & World Report, are largely based on the percentage of alumni who give back to their alma mater. “We have seen a tremendous increase in alumni participation this past year,” said Joanne Mermelstein, Senior Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations. “We are looking forward to engaging even more alumni and to continuing our success in the years ahead.”
Merrimack College is also pleased to report that 48% of the class of 2012 contributed to the class gift—a huge increase over previous years. Also, recently expanded and enhanced Signature programs have helped attract more alumni to Merrimack reunions, homecoming activities, and our annual Christmas party. Greater networking activity among students and alumni has led to an increase in the number of internships and job opportunities at companies in which Merrimack alums have leadership roles.
“At Merrimack, giving back is one of our core values. Our students and alumni have a sustained passion for Merrimack College and its community. Whether you visited campus last year or ten years ago, you are likely to agree: this strong sense of community never really goes away,” says President Hopey.
KEY AREAS OF NEED
As Merrimack undertakes key initiatives to achieve goals set out in the Agenda for Distinction, two primary areas of need have been identified:
Unrestricted gifts help drive key initiatives in the Agenda for Distinction and ensure that projects continue to move forward. An unrestricted gift allows Merrimack to be more nimble by quickly responding to the areas of greatest need. Gifts that are not designated for a specific purpose are vital— allowing the College to capitalize on opportunities ranging from daily operations to deploying student mission initiatives after a natural disaster to benefiting from guest speakers and lecturers on-campus.
Financial aid and scholarships are largely dependent on endowed gifts. This year’s financial aid budget alone was $30 million. Says Adrienne Montgomery, Director of Financial Aid, “A private education is something that we’re passionate about at Merrimack. We want to ensure that all of our students are equipped for success.” A robust endowment helps elevate and strengthen an institution, and endowed gifts last a lifetime. Endowments exist in perpetuity. The principal remains untouched, with Merrimack only drawing on the interest to fund specified needs. Endowed gifts are great way to provide permanent support for the College and can serve as a meaningful legacy for the donor.