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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Winter Challenge Raises $4 Million in Donations for the Colgate Fund

The Colgate Fund, through their fourth annual Winter Challenge, fundraised a total of $4,577,994 — or 176 percent of their original goal — from 4,079 alumni and parent donors, according to the donation website.

The Colgate Fund, which stood at $8.78 million at the end of the 2023 fiscal year, provides immediate-use support for Colgate University’s top funding priorities, including building and expanding academic and residential buildings, sending students abroad (an engagement that costs the University $6 million annually), offering prospective faculty better start-up packages and investing in DEI programs.

The fund also allocates a significant portion of its budget to the Colgate Commitment, the University’s financial aid initiative dedicated to raising more money for student aid and replacing all federal student loans with Colgate grants. Colgate University President Brian W. Casey expressed strong support for this commitment.

“Expanding the Colgate Commitment is one of the [Third-Century] Plan’s highest priorities, and one that is especially important to me personally,” Casey said. “This challenge was both a way to see if we could really move swiftly on this initiative, [and] to signal to our alumni and supporters the importance of this effort.”

Pivotal to the success of this fundraising challenge was a group of Colgate alumni, parents and friends called the Colgate Challengers, who pledged to match, dollar for dollar, every donation made from Dec. 13 until the end of 2023. Notable donors include Tim O’Neil ’78 and Kelly Murphy Mulderry ’93, who gave $10,000 and $13,000, respectively, once the fundraiser hit 113 donations.

Casey was among the many generous donors to join the Challengers cohort.

“I give to a number of organizations, but Colgate remains my chief philanthropic interest. When we were shaping the Challenge, I just thought it was important that I serve as a Challenger,” Casey said. “It has been so heartening to see the massive response to the challenge.”

The fundraiser’s success is not unprecedented, as this is the fourth consecutive year that the Winter Challenge has brought in over four million dollars. Associate Vice President of Alumni and Parent Giving Jen Stone expressed immense gratitude for the Colgate community’s unwavering support.

“We are always so grateful for the outpouring of support during the Colgate Fund Challenge and know that we can count on the Colgate Community when we need it the most,” Stone said.

Included in the Challenge was a clause specific to younger Colgate alumni and students: If at least 813 people from the Classes of 2014–2024 donated by the end of the fundraiser, an additional $1 million gift to financial aid will be unlocked. According to Stone, this was part of a larger effort to get newer alumni more involved in the program. 

“While we did not meet the ambitious 813 donor goal, this effort generated more than 600 gifts from members of these classes. In particular, we were really energized by the participation among the Class of 2024 […]. They were a wonderful partner in this overall challenge,” Stone said.

Seniors Abby Knight and Emily Balog, who are co-chairs of the senior class gift committee, worked alongside their fellow committee members to reach — and exceed — their Winter Challenge goal of $2.6 million before the end of 2023. Placed in charge of outreach, the senior co-chairs called alumni, canvassed the senior class and tabled dining halls and events around campus. 

Colgate’s Class of 2024 chose financial aid as the focus of their class gift. According to Knight, the decision was an easy one for the seniors to make.

“Financial aid is a cause that almost every student can come together on and agree to support,” Knight said. “We all want to make this education and safe learning environment as accessible as possible to future students.”

She highlighted the Colgate Commitment as a framework for tangible change and a precious vow made by the administration to its students.

“The Colgate Commitment shows an understanding of this student-driven goal on the part of the administration and a push towards real change that can open doors for so many future Colgate students,” Knight said. “It shows that the administration listens to and cares about students and that they are committed to providing aid to students who deserve to be here and experience all that Colgate has to offer them.”

After such great success last term, Balog and Knight look enthusiastically to their final semester, ready to accomplish the committee’s ambitious end-of-year goal of gathering 364 donors from the senior class. 

“Abby and I were super encouraged by the support we got from the senior class last semester, and we’re looking forward to using that positive momentum towards reaching our fundraising goal before we graduate,” Balog said. “We’re super grateful for the support we’ve had from administrators and alumni so far, and we can’t wait to keep it going.”

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