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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Supporting Smith February 21, 2017

Smith College Announces Successful Campaign; $486 Million is Largest Ever for Women’s College

Fireworks in a night sky with text saying We Did It! The Campaign for Smith

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney has announced the successful culmination of Smith’s Women for the World campaign, which raised $486 million for the college’s key priorities.

The $486 million total represents the largest and most successful campaign ever undertaken by a women’s college.

“At its heart, this campaign was all about women—their education, their leadership, their history and their future,” said McCartney. “This campaign is truly a historic moment for Smith and for women,” she added. “Smith is a stronger, better institution because of what we as a community have accomplished, and the world is forever going to benefit from the leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship of the women we graduate.”

More than 37,000 donors contributed to the multi-year, international effort to provide women with new educational opportunities and prepare a new generation of global women leaders. The campaign was launched publicly in 2012 with a goal of $450 million.

About the Campaign and Women’s Philanthropy

Smith’s Women for the World campaign demonstrates several trends in women’s philanthropy, says Beth Balmuth Raffeld, the college’s vice president for development.

Women are becoming bolder in their giving. Smith’s campaign includes 93 gifts of $1 million or more, representing 60 percent of the total raised. Research by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute shows that women, in general, are more charitable than men; however, their largest gifts have tended to come in the form of deferred gifts, rather than from current assets. Women for the World has turned that notion on its head. “Women are closing the giving gap,” says Raffeld, “and that is changing the world.”

Women can achieve more together than they would individually. Through a philanthropic giving circle led by former Smith College Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard ’69, eight families from around the world contributed gifts of $10 million or more to Smith’s campaign, for a total of more than $100 million for student scholarships, innovative academic programs and curricular initiatives.

Women’s philanthropy is more broad-based and collaborative than men’s. Through the Promise to the Future gift-matching program, 46 alumnae and friends made gifts of $250,000 or more to support endowed scholarship funds. The Promise to the Future program generated support of $20 million, or 4 percent of the campaign’s total. Support at this level meant that Smith’s “campaign pyramid” was significantly broader than most, subverting the notion that campaign pyramids are becoming steeper and more narrow, and demonstrating women’s tendency toward collaboration and inclusion.

About Smith’s Campaign Priorities

Raffeld, Smith’s vice president for development, says that Women for the World is a vivid example of the power of the Smith community. “We are so grateful for the thousands of alumnae, parents and friends who stepped forward to show their support of women’s education,” she said. “Women are great collaborators, and we are seeing the power of pooled funds for positive impact, shaping the world for generations to come.”

Smith’s Women for the World campaign has transformed the life of the college in many areas. The campaign has made possible:

Close to $130 million for financial aid, including

  • $120.6 million in endowed funds
  • 103 new endowed scholarships
  • Two gifts of $10 million for unrestricted financial aid—among the largest gifts ever to Smith (and to any women’s college). The first of these gifts was used to establish the Promise to the Future gift-matching program. 

$184 million for “Reimagining the Liberal Arts,” including

  • new majors in Middle East studies and in Statistical and Data Sciences (the first such major at a women’s college)
  • new professorships, including the Janet Wright Ketcham ’53 Chair of Middle East Studies
  • new academic initiatives, including the Design Thinking Initiative, and new academic concentrations
  • the new Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, named for Smith’s seventh president and funded in part with a gift from Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight
  • a new leadership program funded by a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor

Several gifts of art, including Pennsylvania Excavation, a painting by George Bellows, from Mary Gordon Roberts ’60 in honor of her 50th reunion

$71 million for other initiatives, largely unrestricted

$110 million for annual operating support.

About Smith College

Smith’s previous campaign, This Is About Smith, raised $395 million for college priorities between July 1997 and December 2004.

Founded in 1871, Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction, developing leaders for society’s challenges. The largest women’s liberal arts college in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,600 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.