Campaign to Raise $125 Million Goes Public

By Allison Tinsey, Editor-in-Chief

On the evening of September 24, 2013, Kalamazoo College launched the public phase of its fundraising campaign. The campaign, which began in 2010, has already raised $84 million toward the $125 million goal. This is the largest campaign in the College’s history.

In her address to trustees, faculty, and students during the launch dinner in Kalamazoo, President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran said that reaching this goal is the “key to our continued success.”

“[This success] is limited only by its financial resources,” remarked Charlotte Hall ’66, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The $84 million raised during the “quiet phase” was brought in through approaching a smaller group of individuals and corporations to gain momentum for the public phase of the campaign. Gains from the quiet phase included the $23 million grant from the Arcus Foundation to initially fund and further endow the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

In an interview, Vice President for Advancement Al DeSimone stated, “It becomes a more broadly based initiative now that we have moved into the public phase.”

With this launch, the Advancement team plans to travel throughout the United States to locations with high concentrations of K alumni. The goal is to introduce the campaign to a greater number of people and communities. Barely a week after its announcement, there is already great enthusiasm and energy surrounding the launch.

“People see what K is trying to accomplish and what impact these things have on our students,” said DeSimone. “We want people to make a thoughtful decision on why they are giving.”

Current students are asked to share their stories via social media and may be asked to participate in promotional events. “We want students to tell their K story…and our students really respond,” expressed DeSimone.

The campaign has so far brought renovations to Hicks Student Center and the new athletic fields and complex. It has also contributed to the Posse program, the establishment of the Guilds, and endowed faculty positions.

Seniors will be asked to consider a contribution to the Kalamazoo College Fund, which is a part of the overall campaign. DeSimone remarked that this is not a practice unique to K, but that graduating students at K are asked to go beyond charitable giving and consider gifts in other capacities after their time at K is through.

“For me, campaigns are a means to an end,” concluded DeSimone, “I believe this campaign will help Kalamazoo College do the things that it does so well and do them even better.”