Well begun is half done, the saying goes.
And Earlham is off to a strong start as it moves forward with an $85 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, its largest in decades.
“In recent years, especially as we have worked through COVID and other ups and downs within the College and the wider world, our giving has continued to increase,” says Kim Tanner ’90, Earlham’s vice president for institutional advancement.
“Our alumni believe in what this place stands for. They believe that what we do is important and needs to continue. And their support for Earlham is being echoed back to us through their immense generosity and philanthropic support.
“Because this is a community that sticks together.”
An Earlham graduate, Tanner knows just how true those words are. And it’s a truth that is being demonstrated again and again as the fundraising campaign gathers steam and its finer points revealed.
For Good: The Campaign for Earlham College is about more than asking for donations. It supports a strategic vision for the College’s future. And, at its core, it is about hope: the hope that this world’s ills can, and will, be remedied by putting more Earlhamites out into the world for generations to come.
Earlham’s donor base has already stepped forward in a massive show of support, with $75 million raised as of December 2022.
This success is driven, in no small part, by the fact that campaign priorities align directly with the College’s financial sustainability plan. President Anne Houtman worked to develop this plan alongside faculty, staff, students, external researchers and the Board of Trustees, which approved the plan in October 2022. It gives a clear path forward to grow enrollment while maintaining Earlham’s reputation for academic excellence and continuing to foster a diverse, global community.
A strategic path forward
The ultimate goal of this campaign is to grow Earlham’s legacy and enrollment, ensuring financial sustainability for the College for years to come. To achieve this, three specific pathways have been identified as necessary components for success.
WIDENING THE PATH TO EARLHAM
FUNDING GOAL: $35 million
First, the College seeks to attract more students to its doors, so it can send more Earlhamites out into the world. This means growing enrollment to over 1,500 students by the 2029-2030 academic year. The College has already made strides to address its enrollment challenges by approving new majors proposed by the faculty such as engineering and accounting; adding sports such as softball and golf; and dedicating more resources to marketing and enrollment initiatives.
Moving forward, widening the path to Earlham will include enhancing recruitment initiatives, expanding endowed scholarships, and strengthening the Earlham Fund. By ensuring these areas are fully funded, the College hopes to fortify its ability to attract a widely diverse pool of prospective students through both regional and international recruiting. Because financial aid is an important factor in many students’ college decisions—and is especially important in building a diverse class—funding for endowed scholarships and the Earlham Fund is critical to the success of this initiative.
Widening the path for students like Marisol
Marisol Cora-Cruz ’23 is on a mission to mend disparities in healthcare. The neuroscience major was awarded the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, during her junior year. The research and other opportunities she experienced at Earlham were made possible in part through the support of the Earlham Fund, which is used to expand and enrich student opportunities, retain talented faculty, and more.
ENRICHING THE EPIC JOURNEY
FUNDING GOAL: $35 million
The Epic Journey—Earlham’s signature program for experiential learning and career development in the context of the liberal arts—has already gained traction with prospective students. Post graduation surveys show that Earlhamites who worked with the Epic Centers and participated in internships and research funded by the Epic Advantage are more likely to be employed or in graduate school immediately after graduation. The data is clear: The Epic Journey is one worth taking.
Equity—by providing students with affordable opportunities to intern, conduct research and study off campus—is a central component to the Epic Journey. Thanks to a gift from Alan ’74 and Peg Scantland ’74, the Epic Advantage has guaranteed every Earlham student a funded, career discerning opportunity since 2018. Now, Earlham is looking to expand its funding for all experiential learning, including student-faculty research projects and off-campus study semesters.
Investing in the Epic Journey for students will help ensure that Earlhamites of the future are able to participate in the life-changing experiences that so many students and alumni have found to be critical parts of their Earlham education regardless of income.
From one stepping stone to the next for David
David Huang ’23 came to Earlham to golf and be a business major, and Earlham gave him the opportunity to excel at both and more. He was a semifinalist at the national John R. Lewis Radical Justice Case Competition, won Earlham’s Epic Grand Challenge along with fellow team members, and then went on to intern at Adobe, a software development giant. He is now applying his Epic Advantage funds to his graduate school search, enabling him to travel to his next great academic challenge.
ELEVATING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
FUNDING GOAL: $15 million
Earlhamites don’t wait until after graduation to change the world. From Isao Sakai, a peace and global studies major who has already made the Forbes Japan 30-under-30 list, to Feven Naba and Wisdom Boinde, who were selected for competitive grants from Projects for Peace to launch educational initiatives in Afric —Earlham students actively seek to bring peace, justice, knowledge and community to the world around them from the moment they step on campus.
To further support these students and their lofty goals, Earlham seeks to provide a secure and comfortable environment on campus—a home base for them to return to even as they venture out into the world. This includes endowing the Clarence Cunningham Student Emergency Fund, which allows the College to help students when emergent needs arise, and renovating and modernizing student housing—particularly the theme and friendship houses along College Avenue where so many Earlham memories are made.
A home for life for students like Hannah
Hannah Bart ’23 grew up in a household where she was exposed to many different faith —and naturally gravitated toward Interfaith House when she arrived at Earlham. She feels that the tight-knit community this house cultivates, along with the diversity beliefs, races and identities of the Earlhamites she lives with, nurtures a sense of belonging and acceptance. “My Earlham experience would not have been the same without having joined Interfaith House,” she says.
A sustainable Earlham
Behind these larger goals is an extensively detailed financial sustainability plan for the College. The plan is aggressive: It demands action and involves the entire campus community. From marketing and enrollment to student life and academics, each unit of the College has a clear set of benchmarks and key performance indicators to help ensure that these long term goals will be met over the coming years.
This plan, which primarily serves as an internal road map for Earlham’s next decade, includes five areas of focus: academics, the Epic Journey, athletics, residential and student life, and enrollment and marketing strategy.
The creation of new academic programs, Epic Journey experiential learning opportunities, athletic programs, improvements to campus housing, and comprehensive enrollment and marketing campaigns will require a significant upfront investment—but research by both internal and external partners has shown that these investments will set the College on a path to greater financial sustainability in the future.
“This is a critical juncture in Earlham’s journey,” says Fred McClure, a campaign co-chair and Board of Trustees member. “This is a moment when we can set the course for future generations of Earlhamites by ensuring the College is operating sustainably and thoughtfully for their benefit.”
President Anne Houtman is confident that Earlham and its community of alumni and friends can achieve the College’s goals. “We continue to be blessed by the people that have believed in Earlham and an Earlham education for so many years,” she says. “And as we move into the next decade, it’s exciting to know that we have a blueprint for how to bring Earlham’s light into the lives of even more students.”
For Good: The Campaign for Earlham College is being co-chaired by Peg ’74 and Alan Scantland ’74, Fred McClure ’84, and Russell Scott ’71.
Story written by Jen Gose.
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