On the evening of Friday May 8, 2009, the Washington and Lee Board of Trustees made final gifts to reach the goal of $4 million, which includes an endowment for long-term maintenance.
On Thursday afternoon, we reported to the Campaign Committee that we were $470,000 short of our goal. The Trustees and the University were pleased with the progress and eager to complete the fundraising as soon as possible so that we could break ground for the Hillel House on schedule in September. What followed on Friday evening was remarkable.
Trustee Mark Eaker '69 of Austin, Texas, a previous supporter of the Hillel House, decided to commit half-or $235,000-of the $470,000 needed. Mark wanted his gift to challenge others to give an equal amount. Fellow Trustees responded immediately. In about 60 minutes, Mark's challenge was met, and the entire $470,000 was pledged! The Trustees were not only generous, but very enthusiastic in their support of the Hillel. You can read more about Mark's extraordinary gift, and hear him talk about it, here.
More than 170 individuals or couples have supported the Hillel House, and made our achievement possible. Several of the supporters and the gifts committed on Friday evening helped meet the $500,000 challenge grant made last September by Don Childress, Rector of the Board of Trustees. A $1.1M reunion gift from the ZBT class of 1959 also brought us much closer to our goal.
Our Fund raising can now continue among alumni, parents and friends to purchase a Torah and to build an endowment to support Hillel programming. We will recognize supporters who make gifts during the upcoming construction phase with available naming opportunities in the building and on the donor plaque. The plaque honors commitments of $25,000 or more.