The Double Challenge:
Investing in Rockefeller College

In an era of declining state support for public higher education across the country, it is vital that universities and colleges identify new resources that can be invested to support our mission of teaching, research, and service. In addition to external funding from groups such as foundations, these investments traditionally come from stakeholders including students, faculty, and alumni.

In a survey of 1,800 schools by US News and World Report, on average 14 percent of alumni make some form of financial contribution each year.  At Middlebury College, over 57 percent of alumni give to the institution annually.  Faculty and staff are also important financial supporters.  According to the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), the average annual percentage of faculty and staff giving ranged from 19 percent at research universities to 26 percent at liberal arts colleges.  Although students quite understandably give at much lower rates, establishing a tradition of giving among students (i.e., a class gift) is also a major focus at most universities and colleges. 

To build on Rockefeller College's long history of alumni, faculty, and student giving we are continuing the tradition of the Double Challenge.

Challenge #1: Rockefeller College Student-Faculty Challenge

Students graduating from our graduate programs have had a tradition of presenting a class gift for student scholarships at the graduation ceremony.  This generous act is an important symbolic step as our graduating class transitions from current students to active alumni.  The overarching goal is to establish a tradition of giving among future classes.  The value of the gift is not measured by its dollar value alone; students typically face a number of financial constraints and are not expected to give large gifts.  The goal of getting as many students as possible to participate in the gift reflects its true value. The Student-Faculty Challenge addresses this goal.

The Student-Faculty Challenge (April 1, 2013 – May 15, 2013):
Rockefeller College masters and doctoral students have challenged the Rockefeller College tenure/tenure track faculty to make a gift on a percentage basis equal to the percentage of students giving to the College during the challenge period.  If the faculty loses the challenge, they have agreed to contribute 100 times the difference in the percentages.  So, if 30 percent of the students give to the College and only 20 percent of the faculty make a gift, then volunteers from the faculty will provide a $1,000 contribution to the College (i.e., (30-20)*100=1000).  If the students lose the challenge, then next year they have a target for victory.  During this stage of the challenge, the size of the individual gift does not matter — the focus is on the percentage of students and faculty who give. All student and faculty giving will go to graduate student scholarships. University Development officers (rather than Rockefeller College administrators or staff) will make all calculations in order to keep the donation process confidential.

Challenge #2: Rockefeller College Faculty/Student-Alumni Challenge

One of the first questions most donors ask fundraisers is: "Have you given to this particular cause?"  The question is legitimate. If the fundraiser does not see the cause as sufficiently important to support, why should the donor?  As we increase our efforts to obtain gifts from foundations and other external funding sources, it is important to demonstrate that the faculty and alumni are willing to invest in Rockefeller College. 

The Faculty/Student-Alumni Challenge (May 20, 2013 – June 28, 2013):
All Rockefeller College faculty (tenure/tenure track and adjuncts) and students challenge Rockefeller alumni to match the total of Student-Faculty Double Challenge gifts on a 2:1 basis.  For example, if $2,500 was given during the first stage of the challenge, then the alumni would be challenged to give $5,000.  Alums can make an unrestricted gift or direct the money toward a particular program. Although a 2:1 match is our goal, we would be delighted to have alumni investments in the College that far exceed this goal.

UPDATE: Rockefeller College Double Challenge is a success!

During the first stage of the Challenge the College had 53% of faculty and 29% of students investing in the College and raised $4,400 for student scholarships!

In stage two, students and faculty challenged Rockefeller Alumni to match this total on a 2:1 basis.  Our goal was to raise $8,800 from our alumni and, thanks to their generous support, we beat that goal!

Just over $9,400 was donated by alums during stage two of the Challenge, bringing the total dollar amount raised for the College by the Double Challenge to $13,827!  This is over $1,500 more than was raised during last year's Challenge!

Many thanks to those of you who offered your generous support of Rockefeller College through gifts made to the Rockefeller College Double Challenge!  Every donation, no matter how large or small, makes a BIG difference!

If you have questions about the Double Challenge or other ways of investing in Rockefeller College please feel free to contact Renee Wallingford at 518-442-5246 or