Students benefit as YDS Annual Fund breaks record

The YDS Annual Fund surpassed its goal of $650,000 in fiscal year 2018-2019, raising a record $658,483. Every dollar raised goes to student financial aid, and approximately 95 percent of students benefit.

In addition, the Divinity School received significant new gifts and endowments that financed major progress toward the goal of covering tuition costs for all students with demonstrated need by 2022.

A total of 1,796 alumni made gifts to the Annual Fund this past year—a 28.2 percent participation rate, as compared to 27.4% in 2018-2019—including 378 who had not made gifts the previous year. An additional 154 contributions were received from faculty and friends of YDS.

Also setting a new record, the 2019 graduates raised $16,749 for the class gift, with 54 percent participation.

“It was another great year, enabling us to achieve the all-time record for dollars raised for both the Annual Fund and the 2019 class gift,” said Gail Briggs, Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “Key to our success were the significant number of previously lapsed donors who renewed their support, adding nearly $84,000 to the overall dollars raised. Also important was the dedication of our class agents and alumni and alumnae volunteers, who were committed partners throughout the year-long campaign. We simply could not deliver these results without them, and we are so grateful!”  

In its national peer group of university-based divinity schools, YDS consistently ranks among the highest in the percentage of alumni/ae who give. At Yale, YDS ranks third among the 13 graduate and professional schools in annual fund participation rate, behind only the Law School and School of Management.

“This is no small feat when you consider the career paths of YDS graduates,” said Barbara Sabia, Senior Director of Alumni Engagement and Development. “These results give me great hope in the power of philanthropy and our desire to make an impact on the world.”

The Annual Fund goal for 2019-20 is $675,000 with an alumni participation goal of 28.5 percent.

“The generous record of giving to YDS is a demonstration of confidence in our mission and the work YDS does to prepare graduates for lives of service to church and society,” Briggs said.

Closing the gap

To free students of debt and allow them to pursue vocations of their choosing, YDS has established the ambitious goal of meeting 100 percent of students’ demonstrated need for financial aid by 2022, the year of the School’s bicentennial. Outstanding Annual Fund results and the arrival of significant new endowments in 2018-2019—most of them coming as part of the affiliation with Andover Newton Seminary at YDS—are propelling major strides toward that goal.

Over the past four fiscal years, the gap between student expenditures and financial aid has shrunk from $8,940 to $5,440, Dean Greg Sterling explains.

“As a result, it costs the average aided student $3,500 less to attend YDS in fiscal year 2020 than it did in 2016, and we have fewer students needing to borrow funds to finance their YDS education,” Sterling said. 

August 2, 2019