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Fundraising Disaster Details

Phil might vaunt his fundraising prowess at faculty meetings,— even though it seems that the capital campaign won’t launch until the very end of his fifth year as President — but the numbers from Dartmouth’s 2017 financials don’t lie (like he does?). Recall that the College’s fiscal year goes from July 1 to June 30; the 2017 results were published a few weeks ago. Look at how poorly things are going in Advancement compared to 2016:

  • Gifts to the endowment dropped by 20.4% — $14,557,000 — from $71,356,000 to $56,799,000 (the first highlighted line)
  • The Dartmouth College Fund (donations reserved for financial aid) held its own, dropping only a fraction of a percent from $87,151,000 to $86,999,000 (the second highlighted line)
  • Gifts to non-operating activities dropped by 6.48% — $4,284,000 — from $66,129,000 to $61,845,000 (the third highlighted line)
  • The growth in outstanding pledges decreased at a rate 29.37% below that of the previous year — a decline of $13,828,000 — from $47,087,000 to $33,259,000 (the fourth highlighted line)

Dartmouth 2017 Financials Gifts.jpg

And this sad performance occurred as the capital campaign is supposedly kicking into high gear in the run-up to the formal launch. No wonder the big announcement keeps getting pushed further back.

The Advancement division — Bob Lasher ‘88’s troubled mess that is trying to hire people faster than it loses them — grew from 190 people in 2013, when Phil arrived, to 214 people last fall. I wonder how many people are working there today?

And to think that while Phil Hanlon presides over such a fundraising shambles, he is thinking of growing the size of the undergraduate student body by up to 25%. Just where is the money for a 25% increase in infrastructure going to come from?

Addendum: For a sense of why things are going so badly in Advancement, take a moment to read a detailed report of a major donor’s calamitous interaction with Bob Lasher.

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