Responding to the concerns of students, the Pomona Office of Annual Giving and the Senior Class Gift Committee has decided to allow seniors to specifically designate the recipient of their contribution.
“We’ve been hearing feedback from seniors that they would like the opportunity to give their gifts to specific departments and programs on campus,” said Director of Annual Giving Craig Arteaga-Johnson. “We’re right now in the process of figuring out the logistics of how to offer seniors the option.”
Although these new provisions will allow seniors to donate more specifically, where donors choose to send their gift does not affect the overall allocation for that program or department, Arteaga-Johnson said.
“What’s important for people to realize when they’re designating their Annual Fund gift to a college department or program is that the college’s budget program is built around the expectation that we will receive donor support,” Arteaga-Johnson wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “So the money that they’re giving to ballroom dance, for instance, or physics, or chemistry is going to help achieve the budget plan that is already in place.”
The Annual Fund is divided between three areas. Sixty percent goes toward scholarships and financial aid for students, 30 percent is allocated for academic departments and ten percent goes toward student life. Although donors to the Annual Fund have the ability to specify which category their gifts go to, the allocated percentages are unlikely to change because most donors do not earmark their donations, Arteaga-Johnson said.
“While most of our donors do give to the general Annual Fund, some choose to designate their gifts,” Arteaga-Johnson said.
Arteaga-Johnson said that although he does not anticipate donors overfunding one particular program or department, this would not result in a shortfall for another program.
“The reality is that the Annual Fund is one of numerous revenue sources for the college,” he said.
Hsuanwei Fan PO ’12 is co-chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee. Fan hopes the ability to earmark gifts will increase contribution.
“I think this year it might be a little slower because there’s a lot more dialogue and discussions about giving to the senior gift, what that means and how that can pressure the institution,” Fan said.
While he encourages people to give, he said that he is ultimately supportive of the conversations the issue has generated.
Arteaga-Johnson said he is excited to see which departments seniors choose to support.
“Certainly the college is always looking for donor support to create new opportunities for students and initiate new programs, or sometimes even strengthen existing programs,” he said.