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News

WESTFIELD STATE FOUNDATION DOUBLES PHILANTHROPIC GIFTS IN ONE YEAR

(Westfield, MA) – The Westfield State Foundation, the philanthropic partner of Westfield State University, closed its Fiscal Year 2017 on Friday, June 30 with a total of $1.8 million worth of gifts received and more than $2 million when pledges were taken into consideration. The $1.8 million fundraising total represents more than double the amount of FY16 fundraising totals.

“Such an achievement in one year’s time is incredible,” said Westfield State University President Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha. “Thanks to the leadership of Westfield State’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Westfield State Foundation Dr. Erica Broman, her team in the Division of Institutional Advancement, and a concerted, university-wide effort, the philanthropic culture associated with Westfield State is certainly strengthening with all university constituents.”

One of Dr. Torrecilha’s goals since he began as Westfield State University’s 20th president in January 2016 was to develop a culture of renewed philanthropy. During this period, gifts to the institution have continued to increase. In FY15, the Foundation realized gifts totaling nearly $691,000; and in FY16, it raised nearly $900,000.

According to Dr. Torrecilha, this elevated level of giving signifies a greater recognition of the university’s direction and a deepened trust in the university’s ability to deliver on its mission of providing “high quality, accessible and affordable education to the sons and daughters of Massachusetts and the surrounding areas.”

Fundraising milestones were frequent in FY17.

  • In March 2017, the university surpassed its third annual #GiveAHoot Day of Giving goal of $25,000 to ultimately raise $40,000;
  • In May 2017, the university announced its largest gift to date—a $1.1 million anonymous gift to purchase 20 Steinway & Sons pianos, setting the university on a path to  an All-Steinway School to serve as the only public institution in New England with that distinction; and
  • In May 2017, the four-year total of funds raised through the university’s annual Pathways to Excellence event exceeded $1 million.

“It is a good time to be part of Westfield State. This outpouring of support allows us to double the score in providing vital funding for scholarships, internships and other initiatives that lead to broader student success at Westfield State University,” said Dr. Broman.

In addition, the average dollar amount donated also increased in FY 17. “Such an increase in the size of our gifts speaks to donors’ enthusiasm in what the university stands for and a greater confidence that their gifts will make a tangible difference in the education and livelihood of our students,” said Dr. Broman.

At least 25 percent of Westfield State’s student population is first generation college students. “Not only do gifts of $250 and $500 make a significant difference in the lives of our students; such gifts are highly appreciated by our hard-working students,” added Dr. Broman.

As the Foundation leadership leverages the success of FY17, it will do so with a new, more focused mission, condensed from one paragraph to one sentence:

Westfield State Foundation supports students and the university through advocacy, fundraising, engagement and stewardship.    

Momentum and this revised mission will assist Foundation corporators and directors as they shape their FY18 plan in support of Westfield State University.

“I extend much gratitude from the Westfield State community to the Foundation’s corporators and directors for their altruistic leadership that continues to have a long-lasting impact on the success of the thousands of students we serve,” said Dr. Torrecilha.