Bucking Economy, Trinity Donors Set New Records

HARTFORD, Conn., July 21, 2009 – Giving to Trinity College reached record-setting levels for a fourth consecutive year, thanks to more than 12,500 donors who contributed $39.4 million in overall gifts to the College during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Overall giving to Trinity increased 7.6 percent over the prior year, with the following highlights:

  • A record $8.67 million in unrestricted annual gifts for The Trinity College Fund
  • New Trinity Fund giving levels by alumni, topping $7 million, as well as parents, whose giving exceeded $1.37 million, including a record 1,888 parent donors
  • Record membership of over 1,400 donors in Trinity’s Long Walk Societies, which recognize the College’s most generous donors
  • The senior class giving participation rate topped 90 percent for a fourth consecutive year
  • More than half of Trinity’s faculty and a high percentage of staff made gifts in support of scholarship funds 

2009 Senior Class Gift Committee Chairs shown presenting their Trinity College Fund gift to President Jones are (left to right): Alexandra Klestadt, Samantha Moorin, and Alexandra Purdie. The Class of 2009 achieved more than 90 percent participation with a total of $17,465 raised.  This marks the fourth consecutive year senior class giving has topped 90 percent participation.

While a number of colleges lowered annual giving goals in light of nationwide economic challenges, the Trinity College Fund raised its goal to $8.65 million, a nearly $450,000 increase from the prior year’s record results.  A special Pacesetters Gift Matching Program provided a critical stimulus for reaching the goal.  Through the program, 225 leading donors, including members of Trinity’s governing boards, pooled $4.86 million of their own gifts to match the gifts of others.  The effort was the largest financial challenge ever offered at Trinity and its success was considered critically important in order to support students’ increased financial aid needs due to the economy.

“Trinity’s loyal alumni, parents, and friends never cease to amaze me,” said President James F. Jones, Jr.  “At a time when charitable giving is down across America, we are touched by our donors’ remarkable support.  Their philanthropy will have a dramatic, positive impact on the Trinity experience of our more than 2,200 undergraduates and we are grateful beyond measure.”

The College also continued to receive affirming gifts from national foundations focused on higher education, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Taylor Education Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, and the James M. Johnston Trust.  As well, many local and national corporate and foundation donors supported Trinity’s engagement efforts in the city of Hartford, including the Travelers Foundation, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Marie & John Zimmerman Fund, the Hartford Financial Services Group, Bank of America Foundation, Inc., the Connecticut Humanities Council, Ensworth Charitable Foundation, J. Walton Bissell Foundation, and the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, among others.

Jones praised the leadership of Thayer Bigelow ’65, George Kellner ’64, and Cornie Thornburgh ’80, tri-chairs of the Cornerstone Campaign for Trinity, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising effort, which includes The Trinity Fund, gifts to endowment, special projects, and campus improvements.  Likewise, Jones expressed his appreciation for the leadership of Ray Joslin ’58, chair of Trinity’s parallel Legacy Campaign, which recognizes those including Trinity in their estate plans, with a goal of $50 million.

Having now completed a third full year of fundraising and reached the mid-point in a six-year timetable, the two campaigns have achieved a total of $204.5 million toward the combined $400 million they seek to raise.  Since fundraising began on July 1, 2006, $169.3 million has been given or pledged towards the Cornerstone Campaign and $35.2 million in bequest intentions have been documented in the Legacy Campaign.

For the third year in a row, the College’s fundraising success received national recognition from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), with a 2009 CASE-WealthEngine Award for Educational Fundraising.  Trinity is among eight colleges – including Amherst, Bowdoin, and Williams – receiving the national award for Overall Fundraising Performance in the category of Private Liberal Arts Institutions.

In addition, Charity Navigator, America's largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations, recently awarded the College its top rating of four stars, recognizing Trinity for “outperforming most of its peers in its efforts to manage and grow its finances in the most fiscally responsible way possible.”