Race for Class Gift is on

It’s like IMs with money.

Efforts are underway to fill the coffers of the Senior Class Gift Fund, an annual fundraising endeavor that uses an inter-residential college competition to encourage donations from current seniors.

Director of Annual College Giving Marc Lafontaine said fund raising began Jan. 31, and will continue until spring break.

Two members of the senior class, Katie Troutman ’02 and Michael Horn ’02, are heading up the endeavor. Their ultimate goal is not to raise a specific dollar amount, but to have all the seniors participate.

Horn acknowledged that 100 percent participation is “definitely a stretch,” but said he anticipates between 75 and 80 percent of his classmates will donate to the fund, commensurate with the participation level last year.

“Some people don’t have the money, and for some people, their Yale experience hasn’t been the best,” Horn said.

He said other seniors think paying tuition is enough financial support for Yale, adding that many prefer to donate to other charities.

But Horn said he feels the Yale experience is worth far more than the cost of tuition, and that the senior class fund is different than tuition money because it helps future students.

“It is a very charitable act to give back to Yale,” he said.

Seniors can designate that their gift be used to support one of six areas: financial aid, facilities, undergraduate life, libraries, teaching and research, or unrestricted use. Additionally, a member of the Class of 2006 in the college that wins the donation competition will receive a one-semester, $10,000 scholarship, Horn said.

Lafontaine also said the fund is trying to give seniors a lifelong sense of responsibility towards Yale.

“We hope to breed some sense of stewardship so they will continue to be thoughtful in terms of giving something back whether as a volunteer or a donor,” he said.

The fund raising will be done through a variety of methods. Each college has two seniors who lead the fundraising efforts for that college, and they plan senior class events to build class spirit, Horn said.

Lafontaine said that raising money from college students is not as difficult as one might think, despite the fact that they are not yet earning salaries. He said that the senior class’ zeal is a major asset in terms of fundraising.

“This year’s group is pretty enthusiastic,” he said.

The enthusiasm of the senior class’ giving efforts can even spill over and inspire alumni to give to the school, he added.

Howard Han ’02 said he plans to donate to the fund because he wants other students to be able to study at Yale.

“Yale is such an amazing opportunity, and I’ve been quite lucky and blessed that I’ve been able to do this,” Han said, adding, “It’s an incredibly selfish gesture not to want to give back.”

Results of the fund raising drive will be announced after spring break.

Troutman did not respond to repeated phone calls and e-mails requesting comment. Horn is a former managing editor of the Yale Daily News.

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