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On giving to Williams (archive here).

Recessions understandably affect giving. Not all the giving shown here is spent on current operations; some goes to endowment and to building projects. The numbers for recent years were affected positively by The Williams Campaign, which ended Dec. 31, 2008. Despite the continued commitment and generosity of our alumni, parents, and friends, it’s likely to be a few years before we experience those levels of giving again.

I don’t really understand these donation totals, averaging about $50 million per year from 2006 — 2008. Can someone explain?

1) The College claims that the Williams Campaign raised $500 million from 2003 to 2008. Great. But then how come these donations don’t add up to anywhere near that?

2) In discussing revenues, Provost Lenhart reports that 5% of the $205 million in revenue for 2009-2010 was from “Annual Giving.” But that would only be a little over $10 million. This chart has “Total Giving” at $35 million, which I guess is not the same as “Annual Giving”

3) Most likely, we just need a more careful breakdown of donations into different categories. My guesses (clarifications welcome):

a) The $10 million in “Annual Giving” from the Revenues chart is from the annual Alumni and Parent fund drives. The College takes this money and spends it directly on operations.

b) The $35 million in “Total Giving” from the Giving chart includes the Annual Giving and some special categories that recur every year. The big items would be the class gifts for the 25th and 50th reunion classes. (Some info here.) This might also include Planned Giving and/or donations from corporations. Much of this money, especially the 25th and 50th reunion gifts, goes to specific uses, not just general operations.

c) The $100 million per year that the Williams Campaign raised over the five years from 2003 through 2008 includes a) and b). It then adds in the Leadership gifts that fund major items.

4) Keep the following table in mind when trying to understand donations at Williams.

Just 89 donors (out of over 25,000 alumni) are responsible for 60% of the money raised. Just 561 account for over 85%. Want the people in Hopkins Hall to take your opinions very seriously? Get on those lists.

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#1 Comment By jeffz On February 4, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

Alas, my total net worth, inclusive of the value of my kidneys, is insufficient to get me on that list.

#2 Comment By Patrick On February 4, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

David: per your question — “The College claims that the Williams Campaign raised $500 million from 2003 to 2008. Great. But then how come these donations don’t add up to anywhere near that?”

When a College says it has raised $X, in this case $500M, it means it has secured pledges, which, in a campaign, are usually paid out over 5 years. The graph you showed is likely “cash in” each year, and so you will find $$ “raised” (pledged) during the Climb High still in the pipeline and will show up in latter years, thus the projections of increases in giving on the chart.

#3 Comment By Patrick On February 4, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

David: per 3B — the $35M would include the annual fund (which includes the parents’ fund), which goes straight to operations and is expended in the fiscal year (and is already factored into the current year budget), PLUS all payments on pledges from the campaign that happen to come in the given year, plus foundation grants, reunion gifts, etc.

Think of the $35M as “cash in” from all sources. Not pledges, but what ever comes into the college.

#4 Comment By David On February 4, 2010 @ 2:11 pm


Hmmm. But the numbers still would not add up. Assume that every dollar raised between 2003 and 2013 were counted as part of the campaign (with all the money arriving after 2008 having been pledged beforehand). Eyeballing, that would still only get us to $400 million, and, again, must of that money is actually the alumni fund from those future years, which is definitely not counted as part of the campaign.

Yet you are absolutely correct that there is a difference between money raised and money pledged. I *assume* that the $10 million in a) is always cash in the bank. I am sure that some of the leadership gifts, even if they are counted in 2008, may not pay out for several years.

It would be nice to know what the mix is between pledged dollars and received dollars in the chart above.

#5 Comment By Guy Creese ’75 On February 4, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

The $500 Williams Campaign included gifts from the Alumni Fund and Parents Fund, as well as capital gifts. Figuring a rough Alumni Fund run rate of $10 million a year, then 10% of the $500 million came from the Alumni Fund.

#6 Comment By David On February 4, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

Guy and Patrick,

So, can we conclude that these are all actual dollars-in-the-bank numbers? In other words, did $49 million come in during 2007-2008?

#7 Comment By Jesse On February 4, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

Dave — yes, cash in (coming into the College, either as expendable funds or funds to endowment) equaled $51M, $50M, and $49M for the three years from 05-06 through 07-08. This makes sense, given the campaign.

The reduced numbers now are still, to a large extent, the result of previous pledges being paid off. There are probably fewer new pledge in the pipeline, which is the real issue for out years (especially for the endowment).