Dwight Hall raises funds at rapid pace

Dwight Hall has already raised more than half of the $6 million target it set for the three-year capital campaign launched this January, representatives for the community service umbrella group said Wednesday.

“It’s very exciting for the Hall and shows the strong commitment from the New Haven community and our alumni,” Ben Staub ’06, Dwight Hall’s publicity coordinator, said.

The capital campaign is raising money to fund much-needed renovations, which could cost from $10 to $15 million. Renovations are likely to include installing an air-conditioning unit in the building, renovating the chapel, finishing the basement, and updating heating, plumbing, and electrical systems, Staub said. Yale has agreed to match or exceed the $5 million Dwight Hall aims to raise for the renovations. The remainder of the funds raised in the capital campaign will go towards Dwight Hall’s endowment, which currently stands at around $2 million.

Dwight Hall, which shares its name with the building it occupies, is the largest student-run organization in the country. It is the primary source of funding and logistical support for over 60 community service and activist groups at Yale.

Although Yale will be assisting in funding the renovations, Dwight Hall is independent from the University, Staub said. The organization receives less than nine percent of its annual operating budget from the University, depending on interest from its endowment to fund many of its programs.

Staub said that the first nine months have been the “quiet phase” of Dwight Hall’s capital campaign. Capital campaigns primarily target large donors during their quiet phase.

Dwight Hall co-coordinator Michelle Rosenthal ’05 said she is excited to see so much progress has already been made on the campaign, well ahead of its target completion date.

“It’s been really exciting to see how enthusiastic and committed the alumni and the board are to supporting Dwight Hall and helping us move forward with the campaign,” Rosenthal said.

Daisy Rodriguez, Dwight Hall’s development director, is out of town this week and unavailable for comment.

Magni Hamso ’05 said the renovations and a bigger Dwight Hall endowment would help the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project (YHHAP), a Dwight Hall-affiliated organization that she co-chairs.

“We’re always operating on a pretty tight budget, and anything extra from Dwight Hall would be super,” Hamso said. “A renovated Dwight Hall where we have more space would be great.”

A bigger endowment would also help Dwight Hall pay for its fleet of vehicles, a resource that Hamso said her organization could not function without.

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