The Salem State University Foundation has surpassed the ambitious $25 million fundraising goal set for its first-ever comprehensive campaign which launched publicly in April of 2014. The 10,000 Reasons campaign goal was reached with the help of more than 11,988 individual donors, including a record 93 percent participation from full-time faculty and staff.
“Our supporters know full well that when they contribute to Salem State, they are contributing to the future of the region and beyond,” said Patricia Maguire Meservey, president of Salem State University. “Whether funding student scholarships, educational programs, crucial student experience funds, or faculty and academic funds, helping Salem State means helping students achieve their dreams of a higher education and a bright future.”
The over 11,988 individual contributions to the 10,000 Reasons campaign averaged $677 per person and included the largest philanthropic gift in Salem State’s history. Contributions included seven-figure commitments from 10,000 Reasons campaign co-chairs, Kim Gassett-Schiller ’83 and Henry Bertolon ’74. Their gifts support health and wellness programming for the entire campus community and the Bertolon School of Business, respectively. In 2014, shortly after the campaign’s public launch, Cummings Foundation, Inc. committed $1.1 million to the university’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
The 10,000 Reasons campaign officially surpassed its $25 million milestone with a $3.36 million contribution, the latest commitment from the largest individual donors to the university, Sophia and Bernard M. Gordon ’85H and the Gordon Foundation. Mr. Gordon also served on the campaign steering committee. This gift nearly doubles their previous cumulative giving to Salem State, all of which supports the creative and performing arts. In recognition of the Gordons’ longstanding generosity and the campaign attaining its goal, the university anticipates celebrating the grand opening of the Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts in the spring of 2017.
“I got involved in the 10,000 Reasons campaign because it stood for all that makes Salem State great – its students – and because I believed in the university’s extraordinary leadership,” said Kim Gassett-Schiller ’83, co-chair of the 10,000 Reasons campaign. “Alumni, faculty, and staff can be proud of their part in the journey that’s brought us to this celebratory moment.”
“Fundamental to the world-class education that Salem State aspires to offer should be the freedom for every student to explore every possible avenue of learning without a huge financial burden. Our goal is to work toward providing that freedom,” said Henry Bertolon, ’74, co-chair of the 10,000 Reasons campaign. “While this campaign is just the start, it will set us on a path for the next campaign to achieve even greater support for an institution so crucial to our community.”
Of the campaign’s primary funding priorities, student financial assistance has attracted the largest sums – more than $5.5 million in all – most of it in the form of scholarship gifts both spendable and endowed. Other campaign priorities have included academic programs, student services including important support for internships, co-curricular opportunities, faculty support, and internationalization efforts. Although Salem State currently serves students from 47 states and 61 nations, 92 percent of its student body is from Massachusetts and 84 percent remain in the state following graduation.
“The outpouring of support from the entire Salem State community has been truly humbling,” said Cynthia McGurren, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Salem State. “We owe tremendous thanks to those devoted to advancing Salem State’s mission, including supporters, staff, and the volunteers who were the engine behind this campaign. We look forward to continuing to work with our vast community of support to build on this great momentum.”
For more information on 10,000 Reasons: The Campaign for Salem State University, go to www.salemstatereasons.com.