Harvard Fund Solicits Class of '50 As 25th Anniversary Drive Opens
40,000 College Alumni Receive Letters
Seniors are now receiving letters from their three class agents asking for gifts to the Harvard Fund. This appeal is part of the fund's 25th anniversary drive, with a goal of $500,000 to be raised by the end of the year. Letters are now reaching the last of the 40,000 College alumni who are annually solicited from the fund's Wadsworth House office.
Gifts received already total over $100,000, David McCord '21, executive secretary of the fund, reported yesterday, with the drive not yet completely under way.
Although most undergraduates know very little about the Harvard Fund, in later years it will serve as one of their closest links with the University.
Founded in 1926
Founded in 1926, the fund annually solicits unrestricted gifts to the College from all men who attended Harvard for at least a year. Agents in each class send personal notes to each alumnus pointing out the problems of the College. Additional material in enclosed from the fund itself, outlining in more detail the College's specific needs.
Gifts up until a class' 25th reunion are held in trust and go towards the class' traditional $100,000 gift to the University. Every class since the early 1900's--before the Harvard Fund began--has given the school at least that to help make up the difference between what each student paid for his education here and what it actually cost the University to provide it. Although the money is held in trust, the College makes use of the interest.
Donations to the fund after a class' 25th reunion are used by the College for its current needs. At one time contributions to the fund were in part used for the University's graduate schools, but the Corporation voted to end that practice last year.
Until last year the fund's Wadsworth House offices used to also send out appeals to the non-College alumni, but this function is now being completely decentralized. The Business School already has its own set-up, and so will many departments of the University as soon as the Law School and others end their special capital drives.
Although substantial gifts are received through the fund, the emphasis is on regular and comparatively small donations. These average close to $30; about three-quarters of the College alumni have contributed at one time or another to the fund, and in an average year around 15,000 men give.
In 1948, the last year of a drive to raise a $1,500,000 endowment for Lamont Library, the agents raised $544,000. Last year with no special objective the drive still obtained $326,000.
While Harvard still aims to get large contributions from its alumni, the fund has produced a significant sum of money annually in small gifts for the University. Since President Conant became head of the University in 1933, all gifts have annually exceeded $5,000,000, but today universities are more worried than ever over the decrease in large fortunes and the natural decrease in large contributions.
It is becoming increasingly likely that the Harvard Fund will assume an even more important role in financing Harvard University projects in the future.