It’s 2,500 miles from Huntingdon, Pa., to Malibu, Ca. — about as far apart as anything can be in the continental U.S. — but distance does not deter Bob Cunnion ’77.
Although Bob’s visits to Juniata College are limited, he embraces and enjoys his opportunities to support it. He makes annual gifts on a regular basis and appreciates their impact.
“Everybody at some point evaluates how they got started and who or what has provided that foundation,” Bob says. “Juniata College is a great school and my education and experiences there were instrumental in my success following graduation.”
“I’m not that close in terms of distance anymore, but the school has done a great job over the years in reaching out and helping maintain that connection,” he added.
Many others also appreciate that connection — and the opportunity to make important gifts.
During the BELIEVE Campaign, annual giving increased 66%, from $1,770,016 in 2015 to $2,941,434 in 2021. The annual giving total of $15,469,258 represented 12% of the overall campaign and included more than $9 million specifically for the Juniata Scholarship Fund (JSF). Gifts received through JSF are directed to need-based scholarship support for academically qualified students. The JSF allows the College to continue its extraordinary liberal arts tradition for students.
While JSF specifically supports scholarship, the Juniata Fund supports other operating needs of the College. Individuals may also make annual gifts to the arts, athletics, academics, or any area they wish to support on campus.
Much of the success in annual giving during the campaign was the result of creative giving challenges and Giving Day activities.
For example, during a double giving challenge in 2017, Nicole Close ’92 and her husband, Chris Albrecht, provided a $50,000 matching gift challenge, offering to match all donations up to $50,000. The same spring, Brian Dietrich ’02 and his wife, Lauren, provided a $15,000 matching gift challenge, in honor of his 15th reunion, to all young alumni.
Both challenges were met and exceeded.
“The thing about annual giving is that it doesn’t need to be big. When I started out right out of school, I didn’t have a lot of money, but even something small — $20 or $50 a year — helps keep that connection,” Brian says.
“Plus, it absolutely makes a difference. It’s really not about the size of the gift. It’s about being a part of something — and that’s important. We’re not a big school, you’re not going to run into another alumnus every day like some other big schools, and this gives us something shared. Something that’s making a difference.”
Additionally, it’s a difference-making mindset shared by many alumni and friends, who were empowered with numerous choices and options for making their annual gifts. In the spring of 2021, a campus-wide Day of Giving featured opportunities to give to JSF, The Juniata Fund, Center for International Education, Alumni of Color Initiative Fund, and each of any of the 24 varsity sports teams. The effort raised $484,972 from 1,493 alumni, parents, and friends from all 50 states and six countries.