Meet the Challenge and Make History
How it Works
- The $1 million Trustee Challenge fund will match each new dollar donated to the Kenyon Fund and Kenyon Parents Fund with a dollar for financial aid. Money raised through the challenge will be put to use in the immediate future, for students in this academic year.
- A "new dollar" is any new amount over the previous year's contribution. For those who did not give last year, the entire 2010-11 gift counts for a Challenge match. And any increase over last year's gift is matched.
- The Challenge period includes gifts made between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011.
- The annual funds support Kenyon operations, including financial aid. The College operating budget delivers 80% of the amount distributed for financial aid.
Got Questions? Find out more about the match.
In less than a month, with full participation of its 42 members, the board donated $1 million to create the Trustee Challenge, a fund that matches dollar-for-dollar increases in giving and new gifts to the Kenyon Fund and the Kenyon Parents Fund with gifts for financial aid.
"The overwhelming support was consistent with the way the board has acted in the past," said Chairman William E. Bennett '68, noting the board's substantial contributions to capital campaigns and its funding of the Trustee Teaching Excellence Awards.
The idea behind the challenge is to stimulate giving to the Kenyon Fund and Kenyon Parents Fund and meet the financial needs of incoming students. The double-edged goal was a "brilliant" stroke by Vice President of College Relations Sarah Kahrl, said trustee Barry Schwartz '70, chair of the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. The challenge is "rocket fuel" for the home-stretch run of the "We Are Kenyon: The Drive for Excellence" campaign, Kahrl said.
Schwartz, vice chairman of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings of New York City, proposed the challenge at the April meeting as a response to the unprecedented need for the Class of 2014. "This was the first class whose families were affected by the economic downturn," he said. The response of trustee Matt Winkler '77 was typical. "Whatever it takes, we should do," Winkler told Schwartz.
The $1 million challenge underscores the importance of financial aid, which allows the College to compete for the best students and enhances diversity to enrich the learning experience. Trustee Aileen Hefferren '88 has encountered tight family budgets as executive director of Prep for Prep, a student-leadership development program in New York City. "You can't have the class you want unless you have the financial resources you need," she said. "Admission to a school students can't afford without financial aid isn't much of an acceptance letter."
Winkler, New York City-based editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, embraced the challenge for its promise to improve diversity. "The importance of diversity goes all the way back to the founding of this country and the creation of its colleges," he said. "I have always believed that diversity is what drives the pursuit of excellence."
Homegrown talent also strengthens the College. Trustee David Trautman, president of Park National Corp. and Park National Bank in Newark, Ohio, said, "We don't want a bright Ohio or Knox County student to see Kenyon as an unattainable goal. It is critical for Ohio to keep its intellectual capital here."
The board anticipated some increase in demand for financial aid in 2008, when it developed a contingency plan that secured money used to cover shortfalls for the classes of 2013 and 2014. The board acted on the contingency, but the need outstripped what was anticipated. "This was not a crisis and there was no sense of urgency," Schwartz said. "The board knew this could occur, and it did occur." Money raised through the Trustee Challenge will be put to use in the immediate future, for students in this academic year, and is also intended to strengthen resources for future classes.
"We're trying to create some momentum that will have a lasting impact," Schwartz said. Trustees hope the challenge attracts new donors, including those who themselves benefited from financial aid, and develops a habit of annual giving.
The quick and decisive response showed the character of the board. "We could have talked about this challenge all day," Trautman said. "But the trustees felt it was important to set the example with our actions."
And the Class of 2014, Dean of Admissions Jennifer Delahunty said, like those that preceded it, is "deep and rich with great, talented kids."