The Alumni Fund shares in the good news from the Campaign. For fiscal year 2000, the Fund is well on its way to meeting a $30 million goal. As of April 18, the Fund total stood at $26.2 million, with the participation of 23,718 alumni. “The Fund’s performance this year is just amazing,” says Beth Garvin, Alumni Fund director. “We set goals that we think are ambitious, but we weren’t sure we could continue the phenomenal growth we had last year.

“The dollar total has been running from 20 to 25 percent ahead of last year at this time,” adds Garvin. “We’ve had growth at every donation level except $100 and under.”

The Fund owes some of its success to a strong economy, but Garvin says that’s not the whole story. “There’s a lot of pride around MIT right now, and there’s a lot of good will,” she says. “Technology is hot, MIT is hot, and philanthropy is cool.”

Although total dollars raised is an important measure of success for the Fund, Garvin says the number of people who contribute is an even better measure of alumni satisfaction with MIT. “We’re focusing strongly on participation during the Campaign,” she says. “People sometimes read about huge, multi-million dollar gifts, and they think, ‘My $50 doesn’t matter.'”

Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Paula Olsiewski ’79, chair of the Alumni Fund Board. “Every dollar counts. Most of the people who give to the Alumni Fund are not in a position to give a gigantic gift, but if you start adding them up, suddenly it’s a lot of scholarships or fellowships. Your gift does indeed make a difference in the life of a student,” she says.

Strong Alumni Fund participation is one reason MIT is able to attract very large gifts, says Olsiewski. “When people see that MIT has a strong, loyal following, it provides an incentive for the large gifts as well as the small ones,” she says. “People want to give to a winner.”