Pomona “Daring Minds” Campaign Announced

Along with its annual Founder’s Day celebrations Thursday, Pomona launched its “Daring Minds” campaign, which President David Oxtoby hailed as the “most ambitious fundraising campaign in [Pomona’s] history.”

The campaign was formally announced at a presentation in Little Bridges auditorium Thursday. The presentation included the premiere of four introductory videos as well as comments from campaign leaders and Pomona staff. Board of Trustees Chair Paul Efrons, Campaign Steering Committee Chair Stewart Smith, Professor of Sociology Jill Grigsby, Dean of the College Cecilia Conrad, and Oxtoby all delivered remarks.

This presentation was followed by a picnic to celebrate Founder’s Day and the start of Daring Minds on the South Lawn of the Smith Campus Center. Guests received campaign-themed hats and T-shirts.

There will be an invitation-only event on Friday that will invite donors—alumni and friends—to participate in a similar presentation, a tour, and dinner. The Daring Minds campaign is a product of Pomona’s “strategic plan,” which faculty, staff, students, and trustees developed over a three-year period. The plan pinpoints Pomona’s highest-priority goals. After cost estimation and financial viability evaluation, the Daring Minds campaign was created to meet these goals. Daring Minds aims to raise $250 million for Pomona College by December 2015.

Pomona’s last major fundraising campaign began in the mid-1990s and closed in 2002. The goal was to raise $150 million, but the campaign ultimately raised $200 million. That money allowed the school to build the Smith Campus Center, which cost roughly $17.5 million.

Pomona’s new Daring Minds campaign differs from the college’s last campaign in several ways. Daring Minds has a financial target nearly twice as large. The funds will be used to construct new buildings and launch new programs in order to expand Pomona’s size and breadth of offerings. According to Oxtoby, the campaign also focuses on developing new areas such as the international dimension and the arts.

Vice President of Institutional Advancement Chris Ponce said that the campaign can be seen as an effort to meet four basic goals: “increasing affordability for deserving students, expanding the annual fund, enhancing critical facilities, and strengthening teaching and learning.”

Daring Minds aims to fund a new array of buildings, faculty members, and opportunities and to help ensure financial aid is always available to students who need it. Ponce said Daring Minds is a “comprehensive campaign” because “every gift given during the campaign is counted and matters to us.”

According to Associate Dean of Students Neil Gerard, Daring Minds will keep Pomona “among the elite of the small liberal arts colleges in the nation … at the level that we all want it to be.”

According to Gerard, the campaign will acquire the target sum through a “wide range of activities and programs.”

Pomona plans to hold four fall programs in different cities across the U.S. in order to reach out to alumni, parents, and friends of the college to inform them of the Daring Minds. Donation requests will go out to everyone associated with the college.

Ponce said that many shoulder responsibility for this new campaign and everyone at Pomona has a role to play.

A recently formed faculty and staff committee will help those in charge of Daring Minds engage the campus community. Ponce said that groups in charge of the campaign will work with “our standing volunteer leadership in annual giving,” including the Torchbearers Board, Young Alumni leadership, Senior Gift, the Alumni Board, and Parents Council.

The Daring Minds campaign has already made some progress in fundraising. According to Ponce, he and his Advancement Staff, Oxtoby, the Board of Trustees, and volunteers have “been raising lead gifts for a few years, at the same time as we have been preparing our staffing, communication, and other support mechanisms.” “[The campaign] will enable us to build sustainable increases in giving to support to current and future students and our faculty,” Ponce said.

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