WATERVILLE, Maine, December 7, 2020—Colby College’s Dare Northward fundraising campaign surpassed $563 million from 22,500 donors and positioned Colby within reach of its $750-million goal, the largest in liberal arts college history. In 2019-20 11,200 donors made $86 million in new commitments and provided $72 million in cash and assets, the third highest year-end total in the College’s history.
“This has been a year of possibility for Colby,” said President David A. Greene. “The College is stronger than ever thanks to the collective efforts of our alumni, families, and friends, whose generosity has made a lasting impact for our students today and for those who will follow for decades and generations to come. With the College’s values as its guide, Dare Northward is allowing Colby and its people to make an outsized impact on the world.”
Pivoting in the Pandemic
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Colby stopped actively soliciting for annual fund gifts as the Colby community responded to the unprecedented situation. In May the College’s fundraisers shifted their focus to Pay It Northward, a strategic campaign to secure postgraduate opportunities for every member of the Class of 2020 in a challenging job market. Colby’s network of alumni, families, and friends provided more than 700 opportunities for the College’s newest graduates, a testament to the commitment of the Colby community.
Despite this dramatic pivot, in 2019-20 the Colby Fund reached $8.7 million, with more than 6,000 donors making gifts of up to $100, reinforcing the impact of the collective. Gifts to the Colby Fund provide essential annual resources to ensure the College has the flexibility to advance its priorities.
The significance of the Colby Fund has never been more evident than in 2020. During the fall semester, Colby invested in extensive COVID-19 testing and other risk mitigation practices, allowing the College to invite all its students back for a safe on-campus experience. Colby Fund gifts supported everything from student travel assistance and COVID-19 testing to technology and resources for new methods of teaching and learning. “This year’s cumulative support despite the pandemic proved the College community’s commitment to students remains at the heart of its shared mission,” said Vice President for College Advancement Jane B. Phillips ’01.
Support for Key Initiatives
Dare Northward gifts of all kinds in 2019-20 supported important initiatives across the College including an expanded faculty and new academic programs; creative and performing arts; diversity, equity, and inclusion; wellness, recreation, and athletics; access and affordability; and downtown revitalization and civic engagement.
The generosity of the Colby community resulted in new endowed funds to support the College’s top priorities including faculty research; expansion of financial aid programs that make Colby one of the most accessible liberal arts colleges in the country; development of new programs and support for civic engagement and leadership; and new internship, research, and global opportunities for students. Colby was awarded more than 50 grants from family foundations and leading organizations including the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Harold Alfond Foundation, advancing the College’s key priorities—from ocean sciences to Colby College Museum of Art programming to athletics and wellness. Capital investments supported the creation of premier multipurpose spaces in the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts and the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center.
The College’s capital investments extended to downtown Waterville with the development of the Paul J. Schupf Art Center as well as the arts collaborative building and the Lockwood Hotel. Colby continued to partner with local and community leaders to promote the growth and development of the city, revitalizing Main Street with innovative new spaces, attracting investors, deepening civic engagement, fueling the arts ecosystem, and stimulating job growth.
“The Dare Northward campaign challenges us to imagine a bolder future for Colby,” Phillips said. “Together our community has proven to be ambitious, committed, and generous in ways that have propelled the College during even the most challenging times. Every gift of every size, every single volunteer and advocate has moved Colby in exciting ways that fill me with joy, gratitude, and pride. And—of course—we are not done yet!”