1869 Challenge: An imperfect success


Photo credit: Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

Dear Trinity Community,

The 1869 Challenge, now in its third year, has broken all records. This annual giving Day raised $556,000 in 31 hours from 4,711 gifts. Our goal was to reach 3,100 gifts and the generosity of our alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff was overwhelming. What a day!

Why do we raise these funds? Every year, we seek financial support because the interest income from our endowment and the funds from tuition and fees are not enough to cover the actual cost of a Trinity education. These dollars enable Trinity to balance its budget and provide scholarships and financial aid to our students. These gifts matter because 93 percent of students at Trinity receive some form of financial aid or scholarship. Gifts are critical to enabling access to a Trinity education.

The team in Alumni Relations and Development has worked on this effort for months. To call this a Herculean effort would not be exaggerating. And it’s worth it because, for the third year in a row, we broke all records for the highest number of gifts and most dollars raised on a single day in Trinity’s history. This funding directly supports our students on campus today.

Like most complex projects, it was not perfectly executed, despite our best laid plans. So much of this 31-hour “campaign” happens via social media, and much of that happens quickly and in the moment. We made several choices that, in retrospect, we would not make again, choices that were perceived as insensitive and distracted from our mission to raise funds to support our students.

Our team listens and respects the opinions of students, alumni, faculty, staff and parents. While none of our social media mistakes prevented the 1869 Challenge from being as successful as it was, they were still choices we will not make again. There was never any intention to be insensitive and, like all of us in the Trinity community, we learn from our mistakes.

My thanks to everyone who generously supported the 1869 Challenge. I am so grateful we are part of a community that discusses challenges openly and honestly and strives every day to do better and be better.