College looks to repeat Marietta Fund success with $3 million goal for 2020-21 fiscal year

Close up of pink blooms with a building in background

Marietta College’s Office of Advancement has announced its annual giving and alumni participation goals for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The advancement team will work to raise $3 million in support for today’s Pioneers, while increasing the alumni participation rate to 20 percent.

Vice President for Advancement Josh Jacobs is positive about the year to come.  

“Since joining Marietta College on January 2, I’ve seen so many alumni and friends, because they love this place, give of their time and treasure to benefit the College and the local community,” he said. “Because of this generous Pioneer spirit, I’m confident that together we can meet these big goals.”

When the College closed its fiscal year at the end of June, the team reported that it had significantly surpassed its fundraising goal of $2.75 million for The Marietta Fund last year, breaching the $3 million mark for the first time in its history.

The Marietta Fund supports every aspect of the College — from student aid and student life to academics and athletics. Marietta Fund resources are targeted to areas of greatest need, and this flexibility had a tremendous impact on the College’s ability to smoothly transition to online teaching and learning this past spring.

Alumni participation in giving was at a six-year high, as 2,754 alumni — up from 2,716 the previous year — contributed to Marietta College. With an alumni participation rate of 18.6 percent, that’s more than double the national average of 7.58 percent.

According to Patty Bain Bachner ’77, Chair of the Marietta College Alumni Association’s (MCAA) Development Committee, volunteer advocates were key in helping the College to achieve its goals.

More than 100 alumni volunteer advocates helped to make Marietta College’s Day of Giving in February a record-shattering event, with more than 1,210 donors raising more than $192,000 in a single day — a 70 percent increase in donors and an 80 percent increase funds raised compared to last year.

Michael Joliat ’06, Chair of the MCAA Communications Committee, said that his team actively supported the leadership and direction of the Development Committee, conceiving of new and exciting ways to engage fellow alumni – including using “live” videos throughout the Day of Giving.

“We also worked to raise awareness about participation, instead of just dollars,” he said. “We actively worked to ensure that our classmates know that giving to Marietta is not just about writing five-figure checks, but is about supporting our alma mater, and a $5 gift is important too.”

Joliat also reported that the Communications Committee grew its social media reach over that of last year by a factor of 1,900 percent.

“We are looking to engage with even more alumni in the coming year,” he said, “and not just for donations of treasure. We are also looking for alumni to share their time and talent to help propel Marietta and our current students forward.”

Contrary to national trends, this is the third year in a row Marietta has seen an increase in alumni donors. The alumni participation rate is a particularly important factor in college rankings, as well as a big consideration for grant opportunities with foundations, corporations and government agencies.

Cody Clemens ’13 just concluded his first year as a member of the MCAA Development Committee and second year as Assistant Professor of Communication for the College. As both a faculty member and an alumnus, he is able to experience the benefits of their fundraising efforts, first-hand.

“When we are financially stable as an institution, it allows us to improve our facilities and offer opportunities for our students that they may not have had otherwise,” he said.  “It is so important to give to the Marietta Fund every year because those donations make such a positive impact in student's lives. We could not function as an institution without the generosity of our donors, period.”

Bachner concurs.

“Thanks to the support of our donors, Marietta really is able to provide a world-class education,” she said. “The opportunities that Marietta College provided for me to lead, to organize and to build long-lasting relationships — with my professors as well as my fellow students — afforded me the chance to truly reshape what I thought I was capable of.  My husband went to Harvard, and I’d put my education up against his any day.”

Like alumni participation, giving to The Marietta Fund by faculty and staff members is also an important factor in college rankings. A total of 161 faculty and staff members made gifts to the College during the 2019-20 fiscal year – a participation rate of 37 percent.

Also of note, 1,730 donors are members of the Sinclair Society – a society honoring loyal donors who have given to Marietta for three or more consecutive years. An amazing 17 members of the Sinclair Society are celebrating 50 or more years of consecutive giving to Marietta College this year.

Parent giving is also noteworthy, with 334 parents making a gift to Marietta College during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Many of these parents are alumni as well, and more than half – 176 of them – are members of the Sinclair Society, with one couple in particular reaching the 50-year milestone.

Clemens said that this year’s fundraising results have made him even more proud to be a Pioneer.

“I think I can speak for all MCAA members when I say, we are thankful to be a part of such an amazing organization that helps give back to the next generation of Pioneers,” he said. “If anyone ever has any questions about where their dollar goes or what their dollar can do, the MCAA encourages you to reach out to one of us or contact the Office of Advancement.”  

For more information about The Marietta Fund or to make a gift, please contact Kathryn Gloor, Senior Director of Annual Giving, at (740) 376-4620, or click