NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” crooned Nat King Cole in a song that first rose to popularity in 1963. These days, the Advancement Office is attempting to make it through the “crazy” part to get to the “lazy, hazy” days.
As the end of the fiscal year approaches, alumna Betsy Carpenter ’93, director of the Smith Fund, is leading the final fundraising push of the year. Each day, the Smith Web site counts down the days until June 30.
The goal is to raise $11 million this year for the Smith Fund, an unrestricted, budget-relieving contribution that goes immediately to where it is needed most in a given year.
Because the cycle is based on the fiscal year, the crescendo of activity always occurs on the final day of June with the telephone bank opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 9 p.m. The telephones will be staffed in staggered shifts, with groups sharing meals throughout the day.
“It’s exhilarating,” said Carpenter. “Colleagues throughout advancement join us. It’s a situation of all hands on deck.”
Three student employees also staff the telephone bank for the Smith Fund. Oftentimes the alumnae ask students about their choice of major or the house in which they reside, noted Carpenter. “They have a great connection with the alumnae.”
Telephone conversations can be as brief as three minutes or stretch out over 30 minutes, depending on the questions an alumna may have, she added.
This year, alumnae frequently acknowledge the college’s greater need for financial aid, said Carpenter, and they are responding.
Recently, an alumna from the Class of 1948, Margie Mayo Tippit, pledged $50,000 to the Smith Fund if the fund secured 500 new donations within a week’s time. The Smith Fund did better than that, receiving 649 pledges. This week, a challenge at the same level was issued by an anonymous donor from the Class of 1986.
It brings to mind what Carpenter finds most attractive about the Smith Fund – the fact that it is a collective effort.
“Everyone has the chance to give no matter the size of the gift,” said Carpenter. “We are more powerful together than individually.”
For information about how to give, go online.