Office of Student Affairs

Office of Development

Megan Morey, Chief Advancement Officer
Smith House, 22 Hitchcock Road, (413) 542-5900

As part of Advancement, Development secures the resources that enable the college to fulfill its educational mission. It does so by fostering connections with alumni, parents, friends and members of the campus community. 

Philanthropy has played an important role in the life of Amherst. The college was founded through a Charity Fund that raised $50,000 from 275 townspeople and other benefactors. Johnson Chapel was built through the generosity of Adam Johnson, a Pelham carpenter, who in 1823 bequeathed $4,000 or two-thirds of his lifetime savings to Amherst.

Most people today support Amherst financially through gifts to the Annual Fund. Comprising the Alumni Fund and the Parents’ Fund, the Annual Fund provides approximately 7% of Amherst’s operating budget each year. The money raised is used to support annual expenses such as financial aid, faculty salaries and research, residential life, student internships, co-curricular opportunities and campus modernization.

Last year, the Annual Fund raised more than $10 million, with 57% of all alumni and 38.2% of parents contributing. More than 1,500 members of the 1821 Society — including young alumni — made Amherst students and faculty their philanthropic priority with a leadership gift of $1,821+ or $500+ (alumni 15 years out) or $1,000+ (alumni 610 years out). Donors at the $10,000+ level are recognized as Noah Webster Circle members within the 1821 Society.

The success of the Alumni Fund would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of Class Agents, 1821 Society Chairs, and Associate Agents who write, phone and email their classmates each year, soliciting gifts for the fund. Amherst students who are seniors also participate in the Alumni Fund, and last year a remarkable 82% of the class participated, raising nearly $5,000.

Development also secures support to create endowed funds for financial aid, student internships and faculty support, as well as outright gifts for capital projects and other college priorities. Additionally, grants from foundations and corporations, and planned gifts and bequests are other types of support given to Amherst. In fiscal year 201112, the college received cash gifts, bequests and grants totaling $73 million. The principal of many of these gifts is added to the college’s endowment, which stands at $1.6 billion as of July 2012. The college has nearly 1,200 endowed funds that support all aspects of the institution.

All of these gifts ultimately strengthen the long-term financial health of the college and ensure Amherst’s commitment to educating men and women of exceptional potential from all backgrounds so that they may seek, value and advance knowledge, engage the world around them and lead principled lives of consequence.