Williams Towner asks

What possible “deleterious effect” on fundraising or the endowment would occur if such a donation [to Mount Greylock High School] were to happen again?

A fair question. I don’t have any data on this point, but I do have an anecdote. My lovely wife’s 15th year anniversary is this spring. The College’s fund raising machine — which seems well-run and professional — uses such occasions as a focal point for fund-raising. Like all good fund-raisers, they use circles of friends as a tool. So, my wife gets a call from a close friend, who is trying to raise X from her and from each of their other mutual friends.

So far, so good. X seems reasonable enough to me, more than we gave 10 years ago but less than we will be giving (I hope!) 10 years from now. My wife’s (paraphrased) response:

There is no way that I am giving X to the College if they are just going to turn around and give it to the local high school.

My wife has not read the blog in more than a year. [Smart woman! — ed] She knows about the charitable giving because it was discussed at an alumni event that we attended. She insists that we will only be giving 1/5 of X this year.

Again, one story does not make a trend, but donation levels are affected by College activity. I would guess that the size of the effect, in this case, is likely to be small — how many alumni even know about recent changes in the College’s policy in this regard? But know for a fact that the effect is not zero.

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