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SGA: Barnard Plays The Long Game In Fundraising

Barnard plays the long game when it comes to collecting the dough.

Barnard plays the long game when it comes to collecting the dough.

This week, Barnard’s Student Government Association met to discuss finances, fundraising, and the new Student Leadership Collective charter. Slideshow projectors were forgotten, two members were online shopping, and the meeting neither started nor ended on time. All in all, a pretty exciting evening with SGA.

COO Goldberg and VP Silver joined SGA to discuss how Barnard organizes its finances and its current fundraising projects. Goldberg went first, presenting Barnard’s budget and revenue using some nifty pie charts. He explained that it takes about $200 million to run Barnard each year. $74 million goes to pay salaries and wages, with an additional $26 million for employee benefits. Another $46 million is spent on non-personnel expenses, which he explained is “all the other stuff” (i.e. furniture, equipment, office supplies, and everything else it takes to run a college). About 5%, $9 million of the budget, is used for debt service, paying off loans Barnard used for larger projects in the past, like building Sulzberger Tower and building the dorms at Cathedral Gardens. These loans are essentially mortgages, Goldberg explained, and is put in place so that Barnard spends as little money as necessary to finance these projects. $44 million, 22% of the budget, goes towards financial aid. Because Barnard is need-blind in its acceptances, financial aid is not a fixed percentage of the budget. Goldberg remarked that over the years financial aid usually comes to use about 25% of the budget. Goldberg also described Barnard’s sources of revenue–the source of the $200 million. 80% comes from tuition and other student fees. The college’s endowment is used for 7% and fundraising makes up another 7%. The rest comes from a combination of government grants and “auxiliary enterprises,” such as rent on Barnard’s commercial holdings.


Next, VP for Development Silver described his position as the head of Barnard’s fundraising efforts and detailed the efforts of the Bold Standard campaign that Barnard announced last year. This campaign aims to raise $400 million, and is 68% on the way to fulfilling that goal. Most of the money collected already has been in the form of large gifts from private donors, and the campaign is now working to attract smaller donations from alumnae and parents. Some of the donations have been pledged in the form of deferred gifts–alumnae and other friends of the College who include Barnard in their wills. This kind of donation helps frame an understanding the long-term scope of the campaign. “The best way to live forever is to put an institution in your will,” Goldberg quipped, describing the waiting game that fundraisers must play. Most of the money raised in this campaign will be used to fund the building of the new ‘Teaching and Learning Center’ (a.k.a the new Barnard library) and for budget relief. Goldberg emphasized that Barnard’s endowment fund is considerably smaller than that of peer institutions so funding new projects is not a priority. “Barnard was funded on the idea that women should have the same educational opportunities as men,” he explained. “But there was no cash money”, he remarked jokingly.

Finally, SGA President Sarah Heiny, McIntosh Activities Council President Emma Stephens, and Governing Board at Barnard President Alex Zhang presented the new Student Leadership Collective charter for the Rep Council to approve with a vote. The SLC, which comprises of SGA, McAC, and GBB, has had conflicts in the past, especially regarding funding between each of the groups in. The charter was created to circumvent these rifts and encourage communication between these otherwise disparate groups. Before it was put to a vote, members of the Rep Council expressed concerns over some phrasing in the charter, which encouraged seeking approval before taking action rather than just encouraging communication. Some concern was also expressed as to how the SLC charter would work under SGA’s constitution. Those who maintained that there were outstanding issues agreed to abstain from the vote with the understanding that their concerns would be addressed in later discussions. The charter passed, but the new peace within the SLC may be unfortunately short lived.

Photo courtesy of barnard.edu aka ‘The Barnyard’

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