Donors Give $75M to ‘Faith in the Future’ Campaign

September 10, 2020

By Paul Pronovost ’91

The largest philanthropic effort in the history of Saint Anselm College concluded on June 30 having raised $75.1 million.

“Faith in the Future” was launched in 2018 with the goal of advancing the college’s Catholic and Benedictine liberal arts mission and tradition with a focus on five building blocks: community, mission, faculty and students, “Hilltop Home,” and Saint Anselm today.

“Even as we celebrate the rich traditions and heritage that make Saint Anselm the very special place we all love, we have a responsibility to ensure the advancement and perpetuity of the college,” said Dr. Joseph A. Favazza, president of Saint Anselm. “The ‘Faith in the Future’ campaign is Anselmian to the core, putting a strategic emphasis on maintaining our identity while positioning us for growth and opportunity.”

A total of 25,136 donors contributed to the “Faith” campaign, including 42% of the college’s alumni. The $75.1 million far exceeded the original fundraising goal of $60 million.

Rich Meelia with studentsRich Meelia ’71 HD ’14, the chair of the “Faith in the Future” campaign and former member of the Board of Trustees, credited the advancement staff and Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer Jim Flanagan, along with the campaign steering committee and the Board of Trustees, for putting together a fundraising strategy that resonated with the college’s supporters.

“To see the enthusiasm, every year seemed to get a little easier,” Meelia said. “People want to be part of the St. A’s story.”

Flanagan said that Meelia, along with Advancement Committee Chair Frank Pfeffer, Board of Trustees Chair Ann Catino, and the campaign steering committee, was the ideal team to lead such an important fundraising campaign.

“Rich’s passion and loyalty to his alma mater and to the students, faculty and staff was the spark that motivated so many friends of the college to make generous commitments,” Flanagan said. “And the fact that our campaign exceeded the stated goal by over $15 million speaks to the incredible leadership of our campaign committee, to Ann and Dr. Favazza, and to the extraordinary generosity of our trustees, alumni, parents, and friends.”

The five fundraising priorities each targeted an important aspect of the college:

“Faith in our Mission” strengthened distinctive programs such as the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) and the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance (CEBG).

“Faith in our Community” bolstered experiential learning opportunities such as the Meelia Center for Community Engagement and the International and Study Abroad programs.

“Faith in our Faculty and Students” supported student scholarships, including 131 new ones; endowed chairs; faculty and student research programs; the Anselmian 360 program for first-year students; and the Gregory J. Grappone ’04 Humanities Institute.

dr. favazza with abbot mark“Faith in our Hilltop Home” funded the renovation and expansion of campus buildings such as the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex, the Savard Welcome Center, the Salamone Family Athletics Hall of Fame, the overall learning environment and classrooms, and athletic facilities.

“Faith in Saint Anselm Today” focused on the college’s annual fund, The Saint Anselm Fund, which provides immediate support to every aspect of an Anselmian education.

The college’s endowment grew by more than $30 million as part of the campaign, which Meelia pointed to as an important factor in the college’s healthy future, particularly when facing challenging times like those brought on by COVID-19.

“A healthy endowment lets you weather storms; it keeps you from getting swamped,” Meelia said.

Walking on campus, the “Faith in the Future” campaign’s impact is unmistakable: The Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex is the hub of student activity and the Savard Welcome Center is the first impression of the college for prospective students and families.

Less evident but of equal importance, the campaign has provided significant resources for a variety of scholarships and has planted the seeds for many signature programs at Saint Anselm.

Max Latona, a philosophy professor and the executive director of the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance, said the CEBG “owes its very existence to the ‘Faith in the Future’ campaign.”

“Without the visibility, community support, and funding that the campaign provided, the Center would not be where it is today – a vibrant, signature, and growing community resource at Saint Anselm,” Latona said.

The Meelia Center for Community Engagement partners with the Manchester community through more than 50 nonprofit agencies, with students participating in a wide range of service activities. The volunteerism that was fostered in the early 1990s by recently retired Meelia Center director Dan Forbes ’81 has grown into a vital part of the Anselmian experience for many students.

“It’s something that’s very important to me,” Meelia said of his support for the community engagement work of the Center.

Meelia Center Director Nicole Lora ’06 said that Rich Meelia and his family take an active role in the Center’s work.

“Rich continues to be the Meelia Center’s biggest fan and supporter. His commitment to our work, the college, and our students is something we continue be grateful for,” she said. “Campaigns like the ‘Faith in the Future’ and other generous gifts make our work possible by supporting our students and the programs that connect our college to the greater Manchester community.”

Reflecting on the campaign’s success, Catino pointed out the college had not embarked on a campaign as ambitious as “Faith in the Future,” and therefore it was difficult to predict the outcome. “We had faith,” she said, “but would our faith be rewarded?”

The $75.1 million raised answered that question.

“I am so overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of my classmates and every single Anselmian in our community,” Catino said. “‘Faith in the Future’ builds upon and strengthens the foundation of the college. It is the base upon which future generations of Anselmians will be educated, grow and become exemplary men and women in whatever field they choose, contributing to society in a positive way.”

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