We Did It!

Donors help Reed students succeed in the new normal.

by Matt Kelly | August 1, 2022

Nearly 5,000 alumni, parents, staff, and friends mobilized to support Reed this past year, giving over $4.8 million to the Annual Fund. These donors ensured the college could stay true to its mission, even as it navigated stubbornly uncertain times.

Last year Reed welcomed its largest incoming class: students who had weathered multiple national and global crises on their journey to college and who were eager to engage and build community. In the spring, graduating seniors collected their diplomas at the first fully in-person graduation ceremony since the start of the pandemic. Behind these joyful celebrations of learning, large and small, was the support of donors. 

The Annual Fund supports Reed’s academic program and student experience, including everything from scientific equipment in the labs to books and journals in the library to financial aid. Last year, the college awarded a record $38.2 million in financial aid, a 25% increase from the previous year. This reflects an increased number of students relying on scholarship support due in large part to COVID-19’s impact on the global economy. Reed is one of few colleges to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all four years of a student’s education. A commitment of this kind, especially during the ongoing tumult caused by the pandemic, is only possible with the extraordinary commitment of Reed donors.

“We've continually been impressed (but not surprised) at how our alumni community has stepped up to help current students,” says Alumni Fundraising for Reed co-chair Cori Savaiano ’11. This year, AFR volunteers contacted over 1500 Reedies, encouraging them to make a gift to Reed.

 "It might be a little cliché,” says Cori’s co-conspirator Kyndra Kennedy ’04, “but the fact remains that when everybody chips in a little bit, it adds up to having a big impact on the college we love.” Alumni donors included 2,386 Loyal Owls, alumni who have given to the Annual Fund at least three years in a row. 

One such consistent donor has achieved Loyal Owl status 10 times over. Reed parent and alumna Karen Hensley ’76 noted along with her gift, “Keeping my 30+ year consecutive donation going.” Another Loyal Owl, Hana Levay ’99, proclaimed her inspiration for giving: “I love Reed! I'm happy to see all the work being done for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Reed’s incoming class was not only Reed’s largest, but also its most diverse, with 37% of students identifying as persons of color. Gifts to the Annual Fund continued to provide support for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the college. This includes recruitment and support for underrepresented communities, professional development for faculty and staff, and other programs and events that provide opportunities that further the development of a fully inclusive learning community.

Reasons for giving to Reed are as varied as Reedies, but a few themes emerged over the course of the year, including giving in memory of inspirational professors and college leaders like Tom Wieting [mathematics 1965–2016], Ed Segel [history 1973–2011], and Reed President Paul Bragdon [1971–88]; giving in recognition of the impact of a child’s Reed experience; gratitude for financial support received while at Reed; and charming phonathon callers.

In addition to gifts to the Annual Fund, alumni, parents, staff, and friends made significant contributions to the general endowment and created permanent funds in support of the financial aid program, the Calligraphy Initiative, the Center for Life Beyond Reed, the Center for Teaching and Learning, student research, and the data sciences program, among other initiatives.  

Loline Hathaway ’59 established a Student Emergency Fund endowment. “I had an emergency when I was a student,” she said. “Money was really tight and I don't know how I got through it. So I have empathy for somebody that gets sick or has to go home. That could happen to anybody and 18-year-olds don’t tend to have emergency funds. I thought, ‘That’s something I can do.'’’

With financial support at all levels, Reed donors helped the community to navigate a new normal last year while continuing to make bold plans for the college’s future. Come what may.

Tags: Financial Aid, Giving Back to Reed, Institutional