The Case for Participation: Why Give to Williams

Every. Gift. Matters.

Your gift, be it $1 or $500, is compounded and buoyed by our classmates, fellow alumni, and others who leverage it to great purpose. We pride ourselves on our strong tradition of participation and philanthropy.

Your gift is meaningful because you join the nearly 90% of alumni who have made an Alumni Fund gift in their lifetime and 100% of Trustees, Society of Alumni Executive Committee, and Alumni Fund Vice-Chairs who made a gift last year. Your gift, no matter its size, is what helps you determine the shape and future of Williams.

Over 1,000 alumni made gifts between $1 and $10 last year (2014-15). Collectively, their gifts made it possible for two students to hold summer research fellowships, conducting valuable scientific research, side-by-side with their professors. Gifts of up to $25 add up in a big way, raising $56,000 last year — enough to essentially erase the debt load of four Williams students. Over half of all gifts made to the Alumni Fund last year were gifts between $1 and $100. We wouldn’t be the Williams we are today — and we won’t become the Williams we want to be — without your gift.

Why Support Williams

Williams is fortunate to enjoy a healthy endowment and the financial support of its alumni, who are generous supporters of many organizations. Gifts to local charities enable donors to make an immediate impact in their communities; gifts to Williams help prepare the future administrators and board members of such organizations for those leadership roles. A gift to Williams can be seen as a crucial long-term investment in the local communities and global charities our graduates go on to lead.

Williams may not be every donor’s top philanthropic priority, but their participation is still important. It sends a message to the administration, the Board of Trustees, and fellow alumni that the Williams education continues to hold value once our graduates leave campus. It lets those alumni for whom Williams¬†is a philanthropic priority know that they’re not alone. And it is part of what gives our alumni a seat at the table and a voice in the larger conversations about the college’s future as engaged members of the alumni body.

Your gift to Williams is your way of saying “I’m part of this thing; Williams is mine.” Anyone who decides, “my gift doesn’t matter because I can’t give much” is essentially giving the college over to those with the funds to make large gifts.

The college belongs to each of us. Our participation is our own “Claiming Williams” act, in a sense.

We are a culture that believes in community, our community, and the fact that 75 percent of our classmates are claiming and affirming their experience, encourages others to do the same.

When we talk about “culture,” one of the things that is striking about the Williams experience is the inherent warmth and sense of community. Talk to anyone who is part of the Williams culture and it’s apparent that the goal is community and collaboration, not competition. Everyone is trying to do their best, but with and for each other. This underscores how deeply rooted that sense of community is — now and always.


Suzy Akin ’84
Co-Chair, 2015-16 Alumni Fund