Millions in Matching Funds
Motivated by the Ignat Challenge, Carleton alumni from classes spanning 1946 to 1993, along with parents and friends of the college, raised $10 million in new financial aid resources for first-generation, Pell-eligible, and low-income students. Established in November 2019, the challenge was completed in just one year.
Funded by David W. Ignat ’63 and his wife, Eleanor P. Ignat, the challenge matched dollar for dollar all new outright commitments of $50,000 to $2.5 million that created or added to an endowed scholarship. Donors who took advantage of the challenge were able to double the impact. Part of the Every Carl for Carleton campaign, the Ignat Challenge addressed one of the college’s most urgent needs: ensuring equal access for all students.
“Financial aid for low-income and first-generation students is a top priority because it ensures Carleton’s continued success in enrolling deserving students and removing financial barriers,” says Art D. Rodriguez ’96, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.
The challenge is already having an impact. Percentages of first-generation and Pell-eligible students in the incoming Class of 2024 both increased this fall, and as the full effects of the challenge are felt next year, even more students will benefit from donors’ generosity.
Fifty years after the social upheaval caused by the U.S. invasion of Cambodia led Carleton to cancel the final weeks of Charles Benoit’s senior year, his milestone reunion was scratched due to the pandemic. Yet neither Benoit nor his fellow Class of ’70 members let that deter them from joining forces to give back to their alma mater, which has long been a point of pride. Instead, they rallied together — virtually, of course — to secure the most Joseph Lee Heywood Society members of any class.
“Most Carleton folks know what the Heywood Society is, but don’t understand the value of it,” Benoit says, pointing out that the most straightforward way to receive the honorary designation — given to those alumni, parents, and friends who make deferred gifts to benefit the college — is to name the college as a beneficiary of a retirement account, will, or trust. “Many can do more for the college through planned giving than you can outright or even spread over five years.”
To inspire people to participate in the effort, the Class of ’70 reunion committee turned to a few members to help set up a challenge fund, ensuring that every time a classmate joined the Heywood Society, $5,000 would be added to the class’s overall reunion gift. Benoit helped drive the endeavor. He called classmates, walked them through the benefits (to them and to the college), and helped with other logistical details that can sometimes dissuade people from planned giving.
His efforts paid off: the Class of ’70 increased its Heywood membership by 84 percent, reaching 83 total members. “We definitely celebrated that accomplishment,” Benoit says, explaining that along with breaking the record for Heywood members, his class also secured the school record for the largest 50th-reunion class gift: $64.2 million. While Benoit suspects that the overall gift total will stand for a while, he’s heard that the Class of ’71 will be trying to set their own membership record this spring. And he’s not at all concerned: “If they succeed, then we’ve scored twice at driving high numbers of Heywood members.”
On the Cover
The Carleton campus, rendered in a bold, futuristic style by Hedof, the one-man creative studio of Dutch illustrator Rick Berkelmans.
In August a major milestone was passed in the Every Carl for Carleton campaign: we met the campaign’s $400 million fund-raising goal. The generosity shown by Carls everywhere has been humbling. However, our work together is not yet finished.
$150M for Financial Aid
Financial aid is a crucial step in opening Carleton’s doors to a wider, more diverse population and ensuring the college stays true to its core value of educating the best students, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances. Achieving our campaign goal of raising $150 million for financial aid endowment would provide more than $7.5 million in new financial aid resources every year and boost the endowment designated for financial aid in perpetuity to more than $300 million.
$10M for the Annual Fund
Achieving our campaign goal of raising $10 million for the annual fund in the 2020–21 fiscal year will help ensure that financial resources are available immediately as evolving needs arise. Amidst unprecedented disruption, change, and calls for racial justice this year, unrestricted gifts to the annual fund have allowed us to meet the changing financial needs of our students, adapt our campus to safely convene the residential learning experience, support DACA students, provide financial aid to the most diverse class in college history, and support the Dean of Students Emergency Fund, which directly assists individuals and families.