Trustees to match any college donation with $100 through the end of June

By Riley Board

Middlebury trustees promise to match charitable contributions of any amount with $100 in personal donations.

A new charitable campaign — a collaboration between the Board of Trustees and the Office of Advancement — will see trustees donate $100 to the college for any other donation through June 30. Introduced at the May 8–9 trustee meeting, the initiative is a response to the economic hardships arising from the unfolding pandemic and has the added goal of inspiring charitable giving to the college.

“Trustees understand how precious the flexible dollars are for President Patton and Middlebury’s leaders, particularly at times of unexpected economic distress,” Trustee Board Chair George Lee ’88 and Vice Chair Ted Truscott ’83 said in an email to The Campus. “The trustees want to emphasize, through their example, their trust in Middlebury’s administrative leadership to use their gifts to advance Middlebury’s mission.”

Every time that a donation of any size is made to the college, trustees will match that with $100. The Office of Advancement offers many funds to which potential donors can choose to donate, including the Student Emergency Fund, the Fund for Staff Support, and the Financial Aid Fund, among others. Donations will be matched in any area of giving, according to Vice President for Advancement Colleen Fitzpatrick, although the college encourages students to prioritize donations to the Annual Giving, Financial Aid and Student Emergency Fund.

The 30 trustees will provide the matching funds with personal donations.

The average donation to the college in unrestricted funds from individual donors is $456, although the median donation is lower, at $100.

Fitzpatrick says that Advancement is hoping to see 2,000 unique donations of any size given during this campaign — this would mean a $200,000 match on behalf of trustees, on top of donations made by individuals.

This type of all-trustee challenge initiative has not occured in several years, although individual trustees or groups of trustees have served in recent years as challengers to specific funds: trustees who are also Middlebury parents have matched funds to the Parents Fund in the past, and last June, two anonymous trustees matched donations one-to-one for the end-of-year campaign.

“This initiative is borne out of a desire to be front-footed in expressing support for the College at this challenging moment, and to use that support as a catalyst to inspire others in the community to engage,” Lee and Truscott said.

At the most recent trustee meeting, according to Lee and Truscott, trustees also committed to a challenge initiative for the next fiscal year.