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Monmouth Fund grows 20 percent to break new record

Barry McNamara
When Monmouth College’s annual fund topped the $1 million mark for the first time in history six years ago, the board of trustees quickly raised the bar. It set a new, long-range annual goal of $2 million for the fund that bridges the gap between tuition and fees paid by students and the actual cost of a Monmouth education.
With yet another record performance during the 2013-14 fiscal year, which ended June 30, the Monmouth Fund is now on the verge of meeting that goal, which was expected to take more than a decade to reach. It grew by more than $300,000 to $1.832 million. Counting unique one-time gifts to the fund, the total reached $1.959 million, edging ever so close to the trustees’ lofty goal.
Meanwhile, total giving to Monmouth College during the past fiscal year was $5.660 million.
“This was a tremendous increase, and it goes hand-in-hand with an increase in staffing, which has allowed us to do an even better job of educating our donors and explaining what their dollars can do for Monmouth College,” said Hannah Maher, MC’s director of alumni engagement.
Maher also credited some special projects for the 20 percent increase in the fund from a year ago, namely two initiatives by the Fighting Scots Society – for natatorium blinds and football jerseys. She added, “We also made it easier for donors to designate their gifts and give where they felt it would make the most impact.”
By providing financial support for such items as academic programs, the library, equipment acquisition, scholarships, faculty development, student organizations, athletics and the fine arts, the Monmouth Fund touches nearly every aspect of the college experience. The fund has also allowed students to travel on Alternative Spring Break trips and be exposed to guest lectures on a variety of subjects. Most important, it supports the “nuts and bolts” staples of the college’s existence, such as the cost of utilities and campus maintenance.
Tuition continues to be the driving force behind the college’s operating budget, but the Monmouth Fund plays a major role. Besides covering roughly four percent of the budget, it also allows the college to minimize its use of endowment funds.
“We’re hopeful to hit that $2 million mark next year,” concluded Maher. “It’s in our sights.”