Monday, September 25, 2023

W&M concludes ‘For the Bold’ campaign. Here’s how much was raised

William & Mary's campus in 2013. The Wren Building (center) sits at the end of the Sunken Garden. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of W&M News)
William & Mary’s campus in 2013. The Wren Building (center) sits at the end of the Sunken Garden. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of W&M News)

William & Mary completed its boldest fundraising campaign yet – For the Bold.

For nearly a decade, the For the Bold campaign infused what administrators called “revolutionary ideas and bold initiatives” into W&M.

Oh, it also raised $1.04 billion.

Since For the Bold’s inception nearly a decade ago, gifts from donors have funded more than $303 million in scholarships for students. Scholarships topped the list of priorities, with more than a third of all scholarships at the university created during the campaign, according to a news release from the college.

The Scholarships Impact Fund, which provides immediate support for students, also saw a four-fold increase in annual donors since the beginning of the campaign. The university raised more than $149.9 million this fiscal year— the single largest fundraising year ever for the university.

Community-wide support and engagement

A total of 106,644 donors contributed to For the Bold since its inception, collectively raising $1.04 billion.

More than 43,000 alumni, 15,062 students,1,086 faculty and staff, 19,068 parents, 30,866 friends, 2,318 organizations, corporations and foundations supported the campaign.

Since the start of the campaign, gifts of less than $100 have totaled approximately $14.7 million.

This is only the fourth comprehensive fundraising campaign in the 327-year-old institution’s modern history.

Through For the Bold, partnerships with private, nonprofit and public sectors have grown and strengthened. These collaborations were integral components of the gift to establish the IIC as well as initiatives at the Global Research Institute, William & Mary Law School’s Lewis B. Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic and W&M’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, according to the news release.

W&M had one of the highest donor retention rates in the U.S. during the campaign, with a very large percentage of its undergraduate alumni renewing their investment in alma mater year after year. During the first year of the campaign, the university had a 23.6 percent alumni participation rate. Today according to U.S. News & World Report it is 30 percent, which places W&M  first among all public universities in the U.S. and 17th among all privates.

The university also saw the creation of W&M Weekend — which provides a variety of professional, cultural, social and intellectual opportunities for alumni — Professionals Week, W&M Women’s Weekend, the Society of 1918, a reimagined Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, Traditions Weekend, new virtual  programming featuring alumni experts in their fields, and so much more.

The university also expanded its alumni engagement staff to support underrepresented communities. In November 2019 and early March this year, more than 75 alumni representing Black/African American, Latino/a and LGBT+ communities met in person on campus for two retreat-style gatherings.

The outcomes included establishing five goals for each community that are focused on growing the engagement, leadership and philanthropy of these underrepresented alumni communities. Each of the identity groups will connect regularly over the next year as they strive to achieve their goals.

Shortly after its public launch on the Sunken Garden in fall 2015, For the Bold went on the road. From Washington, D.C., to New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Richmond, Chicago, Hampton Roads and London, and many more locations around the globe, alumni, parents and friends attended the campaign celebrations to support W&M and its campaign.

A new lighting tradition was also created while on the road — several major U.S. landmarks were illuminated in green and gold in honor of the campaign, including the iconic Empire State Building.

Transformational initiatives

Campaign gifts enabled W&M to buy state-of-the art science equipment, fueled professorships and fellowships for graduate students researching pressing global issues, including marine plastics pollution and international foreign aid spending, according to the news release.

Money from donors led to the establishment of new spaces and initiatives, including the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, Shenkman Jewish Center, the Institute for Integrative Conservation (IIC), Camp Launch, the Flanagan Counselor Education Clinic and the Center for Online Learning, just to name a few.

The campaign also brought to life W&M VET program for student-veterans, the Entrepreneurship Hub, Hixon Center for Experiential Learning and Leadership, the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance and the Alumni House expansion.

It’s also fueling the Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation, advancing music and arts programs, expanding international initiatives and revitalizing the W&M Athletics Complex, as well as providing financial support for internships for both undergraduate and graduate students, according to the news release.

The campaign also provided funding to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives at W&M. Gifts supported the Center for Student Diversity, curriculum and faculty support, the Memorial to the Enslaved and the Lemon Project. In addition, new programs — such as the IIC and the Women’s Stock Pitch — bolster opportunities for women, people of color and indigenous populations to engage more fully in W&M’s educational experience.

Click here for more information about the campaign.

Overcoming challenges during unprecedented times

Plans are for students to return to campus this fall and many have asked W&M how the campaign “will help our students to flourish and the university as a whole to overcome the challenges facing our world.”

“The compassion, kindness and shared sense of purpose in our community are vividly clear at this moment. We are seeing a new level of generosity at William & Mary, a sustained focus on how to sustain resilience, and we are so grateful to everyone who is part of that groundswell,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “Our generous donors to the For the Bold campaign have invested in efforts that push us beyond the status quo and into bold new ventures to increase equity, inclusion, grit and creativity.”

Indeed, on One Tribe One Day in June — the university’s giving day that celebrates engagement and philanthropy — William & Mary reimagined it as a day to focus on community and invest in change.

In doing so, 7,136 donors contributed a collective $2.5 million in support of initiatives that will transform teaching and learning and accelerate positive change at W&M. This was the highest dollar total raised with the largest average gift size in the annual event’s seven-year history.

In the spring the university also pivoted and focused the campaign almost exclusively on ways to support students, faculty and staff — and W&M as a whole — combat challenges posed by COVID-19.

For example, emergency funds established by donors were tapped to help international students facing financial difficulties and private resources supported the newly established Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation — enabling the university to go completely virtual, according to the news release.

Between March 12 and May 31, donors from more than 500 households contributed nearly $290,000 to the Health, Emergencies, And Resources for the Tribe Fund, the International Student Scholarship Fund and the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation.

An additional $200,000 was given to the HEART endowment by three donors during that time.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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