Endowed Scholarship Funds Get a Boost Through New Gift-Matching Program

Anne Bodnar '78 with her mother
For Anne Donovan Bodnar ’78, giving to Smith is intensely personal. About five years ago, she set up an endowed scholarship fund in memory of her mother, Frances M. Donovan (pictured left with Anne), who graduated from the University of Maine in her home state, but always greatly admired the women of her generation who attended Smith. Eventually, she encouraged her daughter to attend. 

“In a way,” Bodnar says, “my mother is going to Smith forever, with every new class, because her scholarship fund is helping to support opportunities for women who might not otherwise be able to go to college. That is incredibly meaningful.” 

Now, thanks to a new Here For Every Voice Gift Matching Program made possible by the generosity of an anonymous alumna donor, Bodnar’s scholarship fund is getting a powerful boost to benefit even more students. The donor, a member of the class of 1972, has given $3 million in support of Smith’s initiative to raise $75 million in scholarship aid and has encouraged the college to use her gift to inspire other donors to increase their support. Here’s how the program works: gifts of $100,000 or more to either establish a new endowed scholarship fund or add to an existing one will be matched with an additional $50,000, increasing the value and impact of the fund in perpetuity. 

“Endowed scholarship funds have incredible power,” says Beth Balmuth Raffeld, senior vice president for alumnae relations and development. “They provide much-needed income over the long term that is critical to sustaining the quality of education and the remarkable, one-of-a-kind experience we offer our students.”

President Kathleen McCartney, who was the first in her family to attend college, has made access to education the cornerstone of her presidency. In May, Smith launched Here For Every Voice to ensure that the doors to educational opportunity are kept open to the best students regardless of their financial circumstances. “Education provides access to the American Dream,” McCartney says. “To succeed, you need education. If you can’t access education, that dream remains out of reach.” Currently, about 67 percent of Smith students receive financial aid. This year, Smith is expected to award nearly $80 million in aid.

“Smith has a powerful mission and I’m proud that we continue to be a leader in the education of women.”

Bodnar says that the college’s emphasis on shoring up its financial aid resources is a critical strategy, especially as competition for the most qualified students intensifies. “This is really about having more than our share of the best students who would benefit most from a Smith education,” she says. “If you don’t keep bringing in the talent, your competitiveness erodes. To bring in the best, you need generous financial aid.”

That’s why she jumped at the chance to increase the value of her endowed scholarship fund through the gift-matching program. “Any opportunity I have to increase my contribution, I’m going to take it,” she says. “It could make the difference in a student’s ability to either come back to Smith or to attend Smith. I don’t want anyone to have to make that difficult choice.”

As someone who has donated to Smith since she graduated, Bodnar has a simple message for alumnae wondering whether Smith is worth their investment: “If you found any kind of value in your Smith education, the best way to guarantee value for others is by supporting the institution,” she says. “Smith has a powerful mission and I’m proud that we continue to be a leader in the education of women.”

To learn more about supporting scholarship aid at Smith, please contact Betsy Carpenter ’93, associate vice president for development, at 413-585-2052 or ewcarpen@smith.edu.

Anne Donovan Bodnar ‘78
Anne Donovan Bodnar ’78