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Campaign for Future nearing $700M goal

By Sabrina Kwon

Since its inception in 1987, the Campaign for the Future has raised $612 million towards its $700 million goal.

The Resource Development Group, which runs the campaign, hopes to meet its $700 million target by the summer of 1992, and if fundraising efforts continue at their present pace, the most ambitious fund-raising effort MIT has ever seen will come full circle by next June.

The Campaign for the Future's original goal of $550 million was met in January 1991, eighteen months earlier than the Resource Development Group had anticipated. Actual gift support far surpassed the group's expectations, and at that time Director of Major Gifts George Ramonat said, "We felt that since we were doing as well as we had, we should keep going."

A new goal of $700 million was approved on March 2, 1990, when then-President Paul E. Gray `54 and Vice President and Treasurer Glenn P. Strehle '58 recommended the $150 million increase to the Corporation.

There are no plans to further raise the current goal, according to Director of Resource Development Communications Elizabeth T. Harding. "With the economy as it is, it would probably not be a good idea to raise [the fund goal] again," Harding said.

Harding commented that the campaign had three major objectives: to support fellowship grants and financial aid, to fund research initiatives, and to upgrade classroom and laboratory facilities. Three different sources compose the donator pool: individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Donated gifts may be specified as a named endowed professorship, scholarship, or fellowship, or as funding for research or building renovation. If none of these is specified, the gift is termed "unrestricted" and may be used where the Institute feels it is most needed.

Harding noted that in this last leg of the campaign, patrons were being asked to consider appropriating gifts toward building renovations, where funding is currently quite low. The group, however, does not plan to use any of the goal's $150 million increase to support financial aid, according to the campaign's report.

MIT, like most universities, follows the five percent rule, where only five percent of the income from the school's endowment is worked into the budget, so that the endowment will increase more quickly than the rate of inflation. The rest of the budget comes from corporate-sponsored revenue, federal government funds, tuition, and other revenue.

Despite the campaign's huge "success across the boards," as Harding termed it, MIT still has one of the highest budgets and one of the lowest endowments in the nation among similar caliber institutions. Vice President for Financial Operations James J. Culliton has attributed this underdevelopment to the relative youth of the Institute.