[Email from John Tonra (B1) '89, Chair of the 25th Reunion Class Gift Committee] I want to thank those of you that participated in the 25th Reunion Class Gift survey. Your participation is critical to the process, and will become even more critical as we begin actively raising money for the gift. We had a total of 249 classmates take the survey — representing approximately 25% of our graduating class.
Based on the results of the survey, the Class of ’89 will be raising money for the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). It received 49% of the class vote allocation — recall that on the survey people allocated points across the gifts, rather than just selecting the one that they wanted. The CTC received broad support as well in that 78% of the survey participants gave at least some points towards its selection. Both of these measures were significantly higher than either of the other two gift options. It is a gift we will all be proud to present to the Academy for our 25th Reunion.
You also provided feedback whether or not you want to redirect our current class funds towards the 25th reunion gift. This was an extremely close vote. The vote in favor of reallocating the funds was 50.8% and the vote to retain the funds with DCA was 49.2%. As the money would stay in the current account until our 25th Reunion, regardless of if we planned to reallocate at that time or not, the committee has decided keep the money in that fund and re-visit the issue only if we need to prior to our 25th reunion should we be short on our fundraising efforts for the CTC.
Our goal for the 25th reunion will be to raise $2.5 million. This will provide us the opportunity to fully sponsor one of the three core instructor positions with-in the CTC and also will give us naming rights for the gift; and the gift will be recognized with an 18" x18" plague in Lincoln Hall. The naming rights will allow us to highlight the class and/or honor classmates of ours. We will tentatively plan to select the name for the gift at our 20th Reunion in 2009.
The fundraising total of $2.5 million will not be a simple goal to reach — but is certainly attainable. This is on par with money raised for the recent 2007 class reunion gifts: the Class of 1967 raised $4 million and the Class of 1977 raised $1.2 million. Based on the much larger size of our class, we can reach our goal. There are two critical milestones we will need to achieve:
1. Significantly increase the participation rate of our class related to donations (67% of our class has never donated to a class fund).
2. Increase the average donation per donor (current donation per donor over their lifetime is $780).
We are going to use the 20th reunion in October 2009 as a significant checkpoint for the fundraising towards this gift. Our goal will be to have gained pledges for 75% of the funding, and to have actually raised 33% of the funding. It is extremely important that we raise as much money as possible, as early as possible. Just like with your retirement savings — we want to take advantage of the magic of compound interest. The sooner we raise funds, the less in total we need to ask for in donations.
You should donate at your earliest convenience so we can reach our goal as early as possible. The donation process is simple and allows for automatic donations to be taken from your credit or charge card on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. As mentioned before, we want to get funds in the account as soon as possible — so we are asking that when you donate you make one immediate pledge, and then set-up your installment plan based on the frequency that works best for you. This allows you to commit the funds towards our long term goal, and do so in a more "pain free" manner rather than donate it all at once.
To match with our overall class goal and milestones — we request that you commit at least 33% of your intended total donation immediately, and set up an installment plan for the balance that will begin right away.
You can donate on line at http://www.westpointaog.org/givetowp. Just make sure to designate the Class of 1989 as the gift target.
I am also attaching a pledge sheet [link] with instructions and address information if you prefer to donate by mail.
We entered West Point and remained together as a class in the same cadet companies. Hence, we will be reporting a lot of the fundraising information as a company, and provide an incentive program for participation rates and total money raised by company. The numbers as they exist so far are attached to this e-mail [link] (donations are for class funds since the time we graduated and include 10 year gift donations and already provided 25th reunion gift funds). Congratulations to the members of Company C1 with the highest participation rate at 57% and to Company F1 with the highest dollars raised at $17,912.
One extremely important step to remember is regarding matching donations. In some cases you can double or triple your donation based on the matching gift policy for your employer. Attached is the latest list of companies [link] that have provided matching gift funds to West Point. If you work for one of these companies, make sure to send in the appropriate matching gift form when you donate. If you do not see your company on this list, you should still inquire about their matching gift policy.
The Class Gift Committee looks forward to communicating with you regarding our progress on the class gift. We plan on sending quarterly communications and will have information available through the communication committee at the class web site: http://www.west-point.org/class/usma1989/