Less than a year before the close of Hillsdale College’s current fundraising campaign, the college has already raised more than its goal of nearly $500 million.
Since the July 1, 2012, launch of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning campaign, the institution has raised $506.5 million toward capital projects, the endowment, and college operations. It has earned an additional $131 million for projects not listed under the campaign, as well.
“It’s amazing to see the support for Hillsdale College, and that it continues to grow, not only from people across the country but also from faculty and staff,” said Nancy Johnson, executive director of institutional advancement.
The campaign is set to end on June 30, 2018. Upon its completion, the college is planning on launching a new campaign, which is focused tentatively on fundraising for scholarships.
“Students are the heart and soul of the campus, so we have to support them,” Johnson said. “The field of competition is getting stiffer. Universities are starting to offer ‘free’ taxpayer-paid tuition…We have to remain competitive to continue to recruit good students.”
Money for scholarships account for more than half of the college’s endowment. The Rebirth of Liberty and Learning campaign had a goal of raising more than $151 million in endowed undergraduate scholarships. It has raised about 60 percent of that so far, according to Johnson.
Of all the money raised, $253.7 million went toward the college’s endowment, which itself surpassed $500 million in January. The fund is now worth $528 million.
“We’re looking at ways to safeguard the college,” said Patrick Flannery, college treasurer and vice president of finance. “We want to make sure we keep the three streams of revenue as strong as possible, so by growing that endowment, it will be able to strengthen the college.”
Hillsdale has three streams of revenue: student tuition, donations, and the endowment. When donors give a one-time gift, the college spends the money. Hillsdale, however, invests endowment donations into stocks and private equities. When it makes money on the interest, the college will spend a percentage of it and reinvest the remainder.
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Johnson said. “It holds the balance, but it usually grows a little bit.”
Although the college has surpassed its goal for its current campaign, some projects remain underfunded, while it has beaten its goal in other areas such as maintenance and dorm renovations.
Johnson said she hopes the college will raise enough to cover the expansion of Phillips Auditorium and the renovations of the Knorr Student Center and the Quad by the end of the campaign. Christ Chapel is less than $2 million short of its original construction cost.
Hillsdale is also seeking donations for the Churchill project, endowed faculty chairs, and a new film and documentary program. It is also looking to endow the Barney Charter School Initiative.
“That helps us as fundraisers not have to chase down the money for that every year,” Johnson said. “But it’s growing program, so the needs for that grow every year.”
The effects of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning campaign, however, are already evident on campus. It paid for the Biermann Athletics Center, renovations to the Dow Hotel and Leadership Center, a fiber optic network, the John A. Halter Shooting Sports Education Center, renovations in the Roche Sports Complex, the Searle Center, and the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship.
For now, Hillsdale will continue to focus on reaching its goals, Johnson said.
“We stand ready to raise whatever Hillsdale needs to keep operating,” she said.