CSB Winter 2019 Informed Newsletter

Page 1


2 Avenues Toward Access A Note From the President

4 A Seat at the Table 6 Look What We Can Do

8 Mission: Possible 10 Campaign Update


A Note From the President


The single largest component of the Illuminating Lives campaign is to raise current and endowed scholarships to ensure that we are providing access to a Saint Ben’s education to all women. And while it’s a key area of focus for us in this moment, the idea of facilitating access is nothing new to Saint Ben’s. In fact, it’s why we’re here. Saint Ben’s was founded in 1913 in order to provide access to education for the daughters of farmers and German immigrants. These young women hadn’t always had full access to the educational system, and the sisters thought it was high time to make a change. They recognized the value and potential of these young 2

“When we grant access, we not only change the trajectory of a woman’s life, but we change the trajectory for her family, for her community and for all the people she’ll encounter in the world.” women, as well as the stunning power that comes from removing barriers and illuminating the way forward. Our campaign is a continuation of the sisters’ founding mission and vision for the college. Just as there were women in 1913 who were denied access to education, there are groups today who lack access to education. When we grant access, we not only change the trajectory of a woman’s life, but we change the trajectory for her family, for her community and for all the people she’ll encounter in the world. So while the idea of access is not new, and certainly not new to Saint Ben’s, it is more

important than ever. Ignoring disenfranchised and marginalized voices doesn’t simply do a disservice to these individuals, it does a disservice to all of us. Our community is brighter and stronger and more powerful because of the depth and breadth of the voices at the College of Saint Benedict.

sustainable and supportive access that helps put dreams within reach. I wholeheartedly believe that the founding sisters stand with us in spirit today as we welcome new generations of women with a clear message: “You belong here.”

Of course, access is about more than simply opening the doors to ensure that ambitious, talented women find a home here. It’s also about ensuring that, once they’re here, they have the support they need to shine. That’s why we’re so proud of our partnerships with College Possible and the American Talent Initiative, whose missions mirror ours when it comes to promoting comprehensive,


Program Spotlight


In 2017, Saint Ben’s received an invitation that was both a nod to the work we’ve done and a light to brighten our path forward. It came in the form of an invitation from the American Talent Initiative (ATI), a highly respected collaboration that brings together philanthropy and research communities with an exclusive list of educational institutions. The goal is to improve access to top colleges and universities for high-achieving low- and moderate-income students. As part of our partnership with ATI, President Mary Dana Hinton participates in regular roundtables with presidents of the other ATI schools, including Harvard,

Princeton, Yale and Stanford. The aim: identify best practices and strategies that have proven to be successful for talented students whose socioeconomic circumstances may have served as a barrier to achieving a degree from a high-caliber institution.

has a per-student endowment that’s nearly 17 times greater than ours. The school ranked just ahead of us on the list has a per-student endowment that’s 40 times higher than ours. And yet, we’re achieving the same extraordinary outcomes.

Saint Ben’s is honored to have a seat at the table with these elite institutions – but rest assured that we aren’t simply taking notes in the background. Indeed, we have proven a strong and valuable voice, in part because we already serve more low- and middle-income students than the average ATI institution, even though most of those schools vastly exceed our per-student endowment.

“I’m proud of what we have accomplished and can only imagine where we’d be ranked on that New York Times list and what we’d be able to do for women if we had the resources of the other schools on the list,” says Mary Hinton. Given how exceptionally effective and efficient we are with the resources we do have, it wouldn’t take a quantum leap in our resources in order to make a massive difference. That’s exactly why every gift matters so much. And time is of the essence.

Translation: We’re punching way above our weight, both in promoting access and in outcomes. In fact, the New York Times recently ranked us among their list of top colleges doing most for the American dream. The school ranked just beneath us on the list


Our endowment helps us build for the future, which promotes access in perpetuity. But we also want to provide access today. That’s where the annual fund comes in. We

rely heavily on our annual fund in order to provide financial aid and scholarships to deserving women, and each dollar we raise opens a door. While the endowments and rankings vary significantly among ATI schools, we share a common view of what’s at stake. We know that highly talented low- and moderate-income students are much less likely to graduate with a college degree than their higher-income peers, and that graduation from a high-caliber institution has a dramatic impact on potential future earnings and long-term opportunities. Speaking of opportunities, our invitation to the ATI speaks volumes about the caliber of Saint Ben’s. But it’s what we do with this opportunity that will amplify our voice on a national and international scale – and, in turn, give voice to so many more women who might otherwise not have a seat at the table. And they, like us, don’t want to sit in the corner and take notes. They want, and have earned, a chance to excel.


on the New York Times list of “Top Colleges Doing the Most for the American Dream.”


Our endowment is


of the school ranked immediately below us on the New York Times list and

out of 228 national liberal arts colleges, ranked by Washington Monthly, for our contributions to the public good in three key categories: social mobility, research and service.

2.5% of the school ranked immediately above us on that list.


Donor Update


Young Alumnae President’s Circle (YAPC)

“I give to Saint Ben’s because I want to pay it forward,” says Becca Simon ’13. “I was part of the first cohort of the MapCores scholarship program, which was made possible by private donations. ... Without contributions from past donors, I likely would not have attended Saint Ben’s. ... When I look back on the effect that decision has had on my life, all because others chose to give, it makes my decision to give a no-brainer.” 6

Each of the generous women in the Young Alumnae President’s Circle (YAPC) deserves her own spotlight, but there’s something fitting about honoring the force of the collective. The YAPC consists of women who have graduated within the last 15 years and who give back to Saint Ben’s at prescribed levels. Unlike our traditional Presidents’ Circle, the YAPC doesn’t operate on a single giving threshold but rather one that scales as women progress through their post-collegiate lives. Graduating seniors have an entry-level threshold that acknowledges their pre-career phase of life and yet still makes a strong statement about their current (and in most cases, continuing) commitment to Saint Ben’s. While only 2 percent of young alums give at levels that qualify for the YAPC, that 2 percent provides a whopping 42 percent of total young alumnae support, with an average gift of $395.78. (Note, that’s larger than the average gift size for alumnae of any age.) This

is significant, not simply because of the tangible effects of their support but for what it says about the role Saint Ben’s plays in their lives. When asked why they give so generously while still establishing their own careers, there’s a noticeable theme among the responses. Sophie Kem ’13 captures the sentiment: “I give back because I wouldn’t have been able to attend without the help of scholarships,” she says. “I want to help future students experience this magical place.” Experience. That’s the key word here. Rather than waiting to give generously at the end of a successful career spanning decades, these young alums give now because they deeply value the experience they’ve had at Saint Ben’s. And they know what impact a few years here can have on the trajectory of a woman’s life.

Over 95 percent of students receive scholarship support to attend Saint Ben’s, and donor support is a critical component in making a Saint Ben’s education accessible. The women in the YAPC know that Saint Ben’s will be a platform that launches careers and legacies, but that’s a chapter for another day. To them, Saint Ben’s is worthy today. It is worthy because it challenges them, their peers and the women who follow them to think critically, to advocate passionately and to lead courageously. This is a value that transcends job titles. It’s a value that pays dividends even before crossing the stage at graduation. For the YAPC, their gifts don’t say: “Look what I’ve done.” Instead, they say: “Look what we can do.”


Young Alum Spotlight

MISSION: POSSIBLE For many high school students, college is a default next step. Juniors and seniors engage in an expected whirlwind of tests, visits and applications, guided by people who’ve gone before them and know the ropes. For others, nothing about the process is default. It’s a matter of feeling their way through unfamiliar territory, and it’s a constant challenge of their drive and determination. Jenny Serrato ’17 faced the challenge. And she rose to the occasion. The firstgeneration college student from Los Angeles not only knew that she wanted to attend college, but also knew that her best chance for success likely meant moving away from home. Her parents were supportive but couldn’t speak to the process. She sought out support from admissions representatives and guidance counselors who illuminated the path forward. And, ultimately, she arrived at Saint Ben’s.


After arrival, Jenny gave herself the space to explore. She tried out several different areas of focus before landing on a combination of political science and peace studies. Jenny is quick to recognize that this sense of exploration is a magical part of a liberal arts degree. “I really loved my time at Saint Ben’s,” she says. “I had a great experience, made a lot of great connections and was able to learn so much in so many different areas.”

firsthand the financial, cultural, emotional and logistical barriers that many students face.

She had such a great experience, in fact, that now she’s working to bring that experience to others. Jenny is a full-time coach with College Possible at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s, a program facilitated through AmeriCorps. College Possible is a program that begins engagement with high school upperclassmen, facilitating pathways to college. College Possible continues the relationship with students throughout their college career, connecting them with new graduates like Jenny who understand

College Possible’s effect is particularly potent because of the near-peer relationships between coaches and participants. When Jenny says: “You can study abroad, and we can get you the resources to make it possible, because I know how much it’ll change your life,” students listen. Because they know she has lived it. When Jenny says: “I can connect you to the scholarships that’ll let you stay here another semester and afford to buy books for class,” they listen. Because they

Scholarships are a central component of College Possible’s mission, but that’s just part of the equation. As with any program that responsibly commits to comprehensive access, it’s about opening doors and also helping students navigate and persist as they walk through those doors.

Jenny Serrato ’17

know she has lived it. When Jenny says: “I want to introduce you to someone who might be able to facilitate an internship that’ll change your whole life,” they listen. Because they know she has lived it. Jenny and her fellow coaches humanize the sometimes overwhelming logistics of navigating the home-to-college-to-real-life transition. She’s doing a hero’s job, but she sums it up with characteristic humility: “I do this because I love to see what happens when students get connected to the right support and resources,” she says. “I get to watch them take the classes, study abroad, get the internship and become empowered to take on the world.”


Progress Update




*(as of 12/31/18)






GOAL $12,000,000

GOAL $100,000,000

*(as of 12/31/18)


ACTUAL $21,044,338

DEFERRED GIFTS $14,454,237

GOAL $25,000,000

GOAL $63,000,000

• Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Desert Highlands Golf Club Scottsdale, Ariz. • Saturday, March 30, 2019 The Lexington St. Paul, Minn. • Thursday, May 2, 2019 Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom Golden Valley, Minn. • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 R Wine Bar Sioux Falls, S.D. 11 11

NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID TWIN CITIES, MN PERMIT NO. 93723 ANNUAL GIVING 37 South College Avenue St. Joseph, MN 56374 Please direct questions to 800-648-3468, ext. 3 or mutsch@csbsju.edu


Ludmila “Mil” Padrnos Voelker ’52

Ludmila “Mil” Padrnos Voelker ’52 is one smart cookie. She has several Charitable Gift Annuities (CGAs) with Saint Ben’s, which is a delightfully clever way of honoring a cause with several attractive benefits – both for the cause and for tax purposes. “As part of the planning for our 50th reunion, I elected to begin contributing to the college through an annuity. … Not only did I receive an immediate charitable deduction on my taxes, I also receive guaranteed income – partially tax-free – each year,” says Mil. “Today, my regular income is supplemented by over $10,000 because of the annuities I’ve established with Saint Ben’s and other charities I support. I give my thanks to Saint Ben’s for getting me started. This gift has truly become a gift.”

Interested in following Mil’s lead? We’d be honored to help. Contact Gigi Fourré Schumacher ’74 at gschumach001@csbsju.edu or 320-363-5480 and start a conversation that can create your own plan.