Sunnie Yi Ning ’18
On Mar. 4, Smith College celebrated the successful culmination of its Women for the World Campaign featuring a keynote performance by actress, playwright and social commentator Anna Deavere Smith.
From 1 to 7 p.m., the day was packed with activities for the Smith community to celebrate the success, express thanks to the generous donors and showcase its changes. The daylong program also included open house tours of 20 different campus locations, student panel presentations, free admission to the art museum and much more. Many donors were invited to see the transformation of the Smith campus and community. The festivitues concluded with an all-college reception in Ford Hall, featuring refreshments, special digital media displays and a photo booth for sharing Smith pride.
On Feb. 17, President Kathleen McCartney announced that Smith had raised $486 million for Women for the World Campaign, the college’s largest funding campaign by far, surpassing the goal of $450 million. Launched publicly in 2012, the campaign prioritized financial aid, reimagining the liberal arts and The Smith Fund, which supports Smith’s operating expenses. More than 37,000 donors contributed to this effort, and the alumnae participation rate is at 53 percent. For financial aid, the college raised nearly $130 million, and it is planning to use that money to provide more and better awards for students. The “Reimagining the Liberal Arts” initiative will use $184 million for new professorships, majors and facilities, including the new Statistics and Data Sciences major and Middle East Studies major. Another $181 million will go toward yearly operating costs and other initiatives.
Many of the open houses featured in the program were made possible through generous donations from organizations such as the Design Thinking Initiative, the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and the Lewis Global Studies Center.
The success of the Women for the World Campaign has captured media attention. ABC News, the Associate Press, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Inside Higher Ed and many other media outlets have covered this record-breaking campaign.
The previous record for a fund-raising campaign by a women’s college was $472 million, set by Wellesley College when it finished a campaign in 2005.
In a community email on Feb. 17, McCartney invited the whole community to join the celebration. “The campaign brought out the best in our community, exemplifying our collective commitment to educating women for leadership and ensuring that talented and ambitious women everywhere continue to have access to the most powerful form of liberal arts: a Smith education,” said McCartney.
In an interview with The Sophian, President McCartney said that donors are interested and eager to be part of the Smith community. “I’ve been part of the extraordinarily emotional moments with alumnae who are just very excited about their gifts,” she reflected.
Regarding the celebration, Beth Balmuth Raffeld, the vice president for development at Smith College, said that it is a way to manifest our pride in the Smith community.
“Interested philanthropy is the alumna’s way to continue to engage through Smith. And every single person – whether a current student, or all the way to our oldest alumnae – everybody can be proud of what is happening with this campaign, because Smith has never been stronger,” said Raffeld. “We are finding ways to celebrate with everyone who has donated to the campaign. Everybody is happy to be a part of the celebration.”