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Donors generous to Fort Lewis College

Tags: Regional Partnerships Recent News

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Ann Butler, The Durango Herald

Fort Lewis College’s donors have been generous this year.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, the college has received $3.8 million in cash, pledges and in-kind contributions, Vice President for Advancement Mark Jastorff told the Board of Trustees on Friday.

“It’s been a very good giving year,” he said.

In addition to the $1.4 million gift from the Robert and Roberta Armstrong Barr Foundation for teacher education, the largest in the college’s history, other recent gifts include $435,000 for three new scholarships, and a two-year grant for $100,000 from the El Pomar Foundation for the Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Hall now under construction.

While Jastorff did not yet have permission to release the names of the scholarship donors or El Pomar, the foundation tweeted the information about the grant earlier this week.

The college has also added 1,200 new donors to its list in the last 19 months, Jastorff said, and now has 94 percent of up-to-date email addresses for its 28,000 alumni. That’s up from 43 percent a few years ago.

Because the national average is that 4.5 percent of alumni donate to their alma maters, and FLC comes in at 3 to 3.5 percent of alumni giving, increasing outreach can help raise the percentage and dollar amount of giving.

“If you look at who donates to most colleges and universities, it’s usually 70 percent from alumni, 30 percent from other donors,” Jastorff said in December. “We’re the inverse right now, so there should be a lot of room to grow alumni giving.”

Donations continue to arrive for the GPE Hall, Jastorff said, bringing the total raised to about half of the $4.2-million goal.

“We’re continuing to fundraise and running tours every week,” Jastorff said. “The buzz is building, this is what a lab will look like, this is a smart classroom.”

While the fundraising is rewarding, it’s another project that makes Jastorff’s eyes light up.

In a coordinated project using a 3-D printer at the college and the machine shop at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the railroad’s Nash car is being rebuilt, scheduled to make its debut as the FLC entry in Durango’s Fourth of July parade.

Next up on the fundraising list is TLC for FLC on April 16, the FLC Foundation’s single largest fundraiser of the year, with funds used for scholarships and grants for educational projects.