Section: News

Kenyon to launch the public phase of its $300 million fundraising campaign

Kenyon to launch the public phase of its $300 million fundraising campaign

Next weekend, the Board of Trustees will have a “truncated” fall meeting due to the launch of the public phase of the capital campaign on Oct. 13, according to President Sean Decatur.

The capital campaign, named “Our Path Forward,” is a five- to six-year period where the College is focused on increasing fundraising for most areas of the College. The goal is to raise $300 million by 2021, but also to “generate enthusiasm and connections among donors” that will hopefully continue after the campaign, according to Decatur.

Before Oct. 13, the campaign was in its quiet phase, raising $200 million from Kenyon’s trustees, major donors and friends of the College. The historically large $75 million anonymous gift that the College received last year counts toward this total.

“Switching to the public phase is when we are officially going out and reach out to the broadest range and pool of donors that we can find,” Decatur said. “Typically in a campaign, large gifts come in first and then over time as you reach out to a broader base of donors the gifts from others and of all sizes come in the next phase … In this next phase, I am not expecting another 75 million-dollar gift.”

“The idea is to raise money for … all of the top priorities of the College,” Decatur said. The campaign has chosen the words “extend, enrich, enhance and excel” to represent each respective priority.

The College’s top priority is endowment for financial aid. The goal is $125 million. Endowment for the academic program is the second priority, with funds for construction projects coming third. The goals for each of those priorities are $60 million and $80 million, respectively. The final priority is to build the Kenyon Fund and the Kenyon Parents Fund for “current use money” with a goal of $35 million, according to Decatur.

“The endowment piece is critical, because that takes the pressure of the annual operating budget and so it makes it sustainable in the long term,” Decatur said. “We hope to add 150 to 180 million dollars to the endowment coming out of this campaign. Not all of that will be in by 2021.”

Next weekend will be an especially busy one as the alumni council, the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee and the board of the Philander Chase Conservancy will also be on campus, according to Decatur. There will be a slew of events to exhibit many facets of campus to alumni and members of the Kenyon community.

On the evening of Oct. 12 there will be an invitation-only dinner in Peirce Dining Hall to highlight “the students and faculty who benefit from endowed funds … [and] the donors who make them possible,” according to the Office of Communication’s weekend schedule.

At noon on Oct. 13, there will be a block party in downtown Gambier for the entire community. Following shortly after at 1:30 p.m., Decatur and David Feldman ’78, professor of economics at the College of William & Mary and co-author of Why Does College Cost So Much?, will participate in a discussion on the cost of higher education in the Community Foundation Theater in Gund Gallery.

At 4 p.m. in the same space, there will be a faculty panel “highlighting especially faculty who have been doing particularly interesting work in their scholarship and teaching … across the divisions of the College,” Decatur said.

That evening, there will be a second invitation-only dinner at the Kenyon Athletic Center to highlight the successes of the campaign so far, according to the Office of Communication’s weekend schedule.

“The idea is after Saturday that we have a bunch of folks who are donors to the College, volunteers to the College, who leave campus both better informed about what the priorities are and what the activities are on campus and also leaving in a good, happy place and ready to either continue their support of the College directly or to talk to their friends about why they should be supporting the College,” Decatur said.

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