Wellesley Rallies Alumnae to Give a Little and Share a Little

May 19, 2015
Signs reading "We are..." completed by ideas defining Wellesley

Physician. Magician. Statistician. Technician. Musician. Person with vision.

All these are Wellesley.

Veteran. VP. Veterinarian. Sales leader. CPA. Septuagenarian.

These too are Wellesley. And not even the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

Wellesley is more than a place. We are a community of individuals united by a unique experience—burnished by the challenge of Wellesley, touched by the beauty of Wellesley, influenced by the people of Wellesley. That doesn’t mean Wellesley folks are uniform, or even necessarily similar! Each comes away from Wellesley unmatched, distinct from one another and different from all others. We are—each in a very particular way—Wellesley.

Recognizing and celebrating that, Wellesley launches the 2015 alumnae participation challenge called We Are Wellesley, and with it, the start of an ongoing conversation. We are (…rancher, dancer, banker, baker) urging alums to share their individuality with us by finishing the sentence “We are….” We hope that as alumnae reflect on the transformational path Wellesley set them on, they will be inspired to make a gift to the College.

We are (…sister, singer, mother, student) grateful for the long tradition of alumnae giving back to their alma mater with devotion and generosity. Indeed, Wellesley’s leadership position in women’s education depends on that collective generosity. So to keep that position strong, we are (…panelist, analyst, daring, prudent) inviting alums to help us power past the 50 percent participation rate we reached last year, and push on to 54 percent. To encourage pursuit of this ambitious goal, a group of Wellesley alumnae who believe in the impact of a Wellesley education—and the essential role that alumnae participation plays in upholding Wellesley’s preeminence—have pledged to make additional gifts this year to match increases in participation. Starting May 19, 2015, for every 5 percent increase in the number of alums who have given this fiscal year, the donor group will contribute another $100,000, until we reach our goal.

Gifts of any size have a value beyond their dollar figure, not just because of this challenge match opportunity, but because a high participation rate—determined by the number of alumnae who make a donation to the College during a given fiscal year—says a great deal about the College. A high alumnae participation rate sends a strong message to prospective students and faculty that Wellesley has a vibrant and committed alumnae and donor network. It's a proof point to the oft-made statement that "other people go to college for four years; with Wellesley it's for life!"

Our alumnae in and of themselves say a great deal about the College, too, of course, which is why this year we are (...philanthropists, softball champs, running for president) thrilled to give donors the opportunity to share the power and impact of their Wellesley education with the Wellesley community—and beyond. Do it by posting on social media, filling out a form on the challenge website, or including a hand-written response on a gift slip or reply device. We encourage alumnae to reach out to former classmates and challenge them to join in the effort and share their Wellesley story too.

Need any more convincing that a donation, small or large, to Wellesley is the right thing right now? Alumnae participation rates factor into rankings, like those in U.S. News & World Report. A strong participation rate displays the institution’s strength to everyone, including potential corporate and foundation donors. Finally, and most directly, the more donors who give, the more money Wellesley can put toward fund financial aid packages and scholarships for current students. When all gifts join together they provide each student within our great diversity of students with the second-to-none Wellesley experience every year. 

Given all these points, participating in giving back to Wellesley may be the easiest way for alumnae to be "women who will make a difference in world."

Once more, just to summarize: If you are a Wellesley alum and have not made a donation to Wellesley since June 30, 2014, your support now can have an even greater impact. For every 5-percentage-point jump in participation from May 19 to June 30, the College will receive an additional $100,000, thanks to a few generous “mystery donors.” This is a tremendous opportunity; one that will allow Wellesley to put the additional funds toward supporting today’s and tomorrow’s students. Visit www.wellesley.edu/WeAreWellesley for more details.