Rosa Lafer-Sousa ‘09 made her first gift to Wellesley this year. Recently, she agreed to further support Wellesley’s fundraising efforts by authoring a letter to her classmates. In the letter, Rosa shared with her fellow alumnae what she learned about the importance of giving back and why she chose to give this year.
Herself a lab technician in the Neuroscience department at Wellesley, Rosa knows firsthand what additional funding can accomplish for student learning and research opportunities here on campus. And through conversations with Wellesley friends and fellow staff members, and the CountMeIn campaign, Rosa began to better understand exactly how much many departments depend on gifts from alumnae each year in order to make experiential learning happen. Gifts from alumnae also fund scholarships and international study, new library acquisitions, technology upgrades and enhancements, multicultural events, and other student activities.
Additionally, Rosa noted the role participation plays in national rankings, like those in U.S. News & World Report. She used her letter to explain that participation is seen as a measure of alumnae loyalty.
When explaining why she chose to give, she stated:
Once I understood the importance of widespread alumnae participation, I had to do something. My budget has been fairly tight, but skipping a few coffees and other small purchases were sacrifices I was willing to make—after all, my Wellesley pride was at stake here! So I took 30 seconds to pull out my credit card and fill out the form, another 10 seconds to announce it on Facebook, Gchat old friends and roommates, and get the word out. Today I’m pleased to say I’ve been counted.
These were just a couple of the reasons why Rosa decided to make a gift. We’re sure her personal experience, friendships, and memories also played a part in her decision. Everyone’s reasons for giving are her own. We hope you—like Rosa—will remember what you loved about Wellesley and will choose to make a gift today.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with us by reblogging, or at www.facebook.com/ParticipationDrive
To make your own gift today, visit www.wellesley.edu/CountMeIn
Wellesley Students Say Thank You
Wellesley students from all class years flocked to the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center to express their gratitude at the annual Student Thank You Note Writing Event earlier this month. Each year, students have the opportunity to write personal thank you notes to the donors of their endowed financial aid scholarships. For many, this event enhances their understanding of what Wellesley’s need-blind financial aid is all about and underscores how important their participation—like writing a thank you note—is to the program.
This year, for the first time we shot thank you videos from many students which provided an additional opportunity for them to express themselves. They were all naturals in front of the camera—even the softest-spoken students turned it up once the camera was rolling! We had a great turnout and the students had a fun time.
Silly door prizes and loads of snacks!
*Photos courtesy of the Wellesley Public Affairs Office
Only at Wellesley would one be able to hear academicians draw comparisons between Jay-Z and Plato. Adam Bradley, author of The Hip Hop Anthology, spoke on Monday about his research on the history of Hip Hop music at The Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities. Though Professor Bradley smiled at the fact that many students and researchers have cited Jay-Z as this millennia’s new “philosopher king,” he did not ultimately believe at this stage, that Jay-Z is as historically important (yet) as Plato.
The Newhouse Center ’s programming is a perfect example of how Wellesley honors its commitment to create a robust liberal arts education. It connects seemingly disparate subject matter in an effort to foster disciplined thinking, creative problem solving, and avid curiosity. And of course, there is a Wellesley woman behind this effort! The Newhouse Center was established by a generous gift from Susan ’55 and Donald Newhouse in 2004 to promote innovative, imaginative, and influential research in the humanities. The Center has hosted a variety of literary notables including Pico Iyer, Lydia Davies and Jennifer Eagan, and collaborates with the Davis to provide a wide range of learning opportunities.
The Newhouse Center is one example of the impact that philanthropy has on today’s Wellesley students and programming. I’m sure you can think of lectures, events, or experiences like these that left you enlightened and inspired. Let us know – share your thoughts on our Facebook page. Or, consider supporting Wellesley and its liberal arts mission with a gift today.
Where does your gift go? Part 2
Last week, I posted about unrestricted gifts to Wellesley. In addition to unrestricted giving, alumnae are able to make donor-directed gifts. These are great because they allow us to be a little more specific about what we want to support at Wellesley.
Similar to unrestricted gifts, donor-directed gifts fund annual priorities identified by Wellesley leadership.
This year Wellesley has established five areas where our gifts will have an immediate impact:
Please join the conversation about Count Me In at our Facebook page.
For more information about about gift giving, please visit Count Me In.
Where does the money go?
We all know giving to Wellesley is important, but as alumnae we want to be sure our gifts are being spent on things that truly make a difference. Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with @MsMakkah on Twitter, and she asked me: “Where does the money go?” Since I’ve started in this new role with Wellesley, I’ve learned quite a few things about how alumnae gifts are used and I thought it was important to share.
Many times you’ll hear Wellesley ask for an unrestricted gift. What does that mean!?
Every year, many departments provide excellent faculty and student learning opportunities – research projects, international study, scholarships, and more. These opportunities are often funded by both the annual budget AND by unrestricted gifts from alumnae. These are activities that many departments depend on, and our gifts help to ensure they are available for students and faculty.
Our unrestricted gifts give Wellesley the flexibility to identify these most important needs and fund them. Programs that benefit from unrestricted gifts include:
Faculty and student research projects
New library acquisitions
International study for students and faculty
Technology upgrades and enhancements
Student activities and student life programs
Extracurricular sports and cultural activities
While it’s not always easy to define what “unrestricted” means, it’s important to know these gifts are supporting programs that have an impact on many Wellesley students and faculty.
These giving opportunities mean we can now support Wellesley in a way that is meaningful and important to us.
Let me know what you think! Visit the CMI Facebook page and share your thoughts.
Three lattes a week
I know firsthand how hard it is to endorse a charitable cause when money is tight. I lost a lucrative editing position on Wall Street during the bloody market crash of 2008. Several “consultant” jobs later, I am back at Wellesley…with the best job ever.
Each morning (despite being a non-morning person,) I walk by Lake Waban passing through the Lulu Wang Student Center. And, I will tell you, Lake Waban, when framed by the Lulu Center and Alumnae Hall, is absolutely ethereal in its stillness.
My walk to my office continues. I ascend the stone stairs through the Davis Museum and the Jewett Library. I take these steps slowly because I am not as young as I used to be. I also ascend slowly because I know when I reach the top; the Academic Quad is there to greet me.
Maybe due to the fact it is winter, or maybe because I am simply arriving to work when classes are in session, the Academic Quad and Lake Waban look pristine. Be still my beating heart. I always then think, “J.K. Rowling should have filmed the Harry Potter films at Wellesley.”
Somehow I end up at my desk in Green Hall and as stated, tend to tasks at hand for the best job ever.
I promote the Count Me in campaign. The Count Me In campaign is Wellesley’s alumnae participation drive. And, to be honest, I didn’t know much about this before I interviewed for the position. I had felt that I was “off the grid” with regard to being able to be a participant, let alone a donor for Wellesley. And, like many situations in my life, I could not have been more wrong.
Did you know that national college rankings are based in part on alumnae participation? So, translated, more participation, regardless of dollar amount, helps to yield a higher ranking. What surprised me was that Wellesley’s participation had been on the decline.
I could wax and wane about the importance of giving to Wellesley and COUNTING yourself in. However, I suspect you understand that. I want you to get counted. I want your friends to get counted.
If my description of walking through campus doesn’t move you or, you aren’t motivated by rankings, here’s one more reason to be counted——and it’s arguably the most compelling. As graduates of a women’s college, we know firsthand that we live in a socio-economic climate that daily seeks to remove basic civil rights for women around the world. Whatever your political stance, an institution like Wellesley is needed now more than ever. Wellesley creates leaders with the ability and drive to change the world; to make it a better place for all women. Wellesley offers unparallel access to superior courses, professors, facilities, and technology. And, this world-class Wellesley education depends on financial health and a strong reputation.
So, I have done the math. I am going to give up three lattes a week and use those funds to get counted. The caffeine will be missed but an opportunity to help Wellesley will not.