Divinity Tomorrow capital campaign concludes successfully at end of five-year run

The Divinity Tomorrow capital campaign, a joint effort of Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School, concluded as the largest campaign in the history of the schools.   The final tally of gifts and pledges totaled $37,363,667 as of the end of the campaign.

GraphYale Divinity School’s Dean Harold Attridge said, “The campaign has strengthened the Divinity School and will solidify its place among the world’s great divinity schools.  I am very grateful to the generous support of our alums and friends.   Your gifts have provided critical support for the future of YDS in several key areas, including scholarship aid, endowments for faculty chairs, and programs.”

Of the $37.4 million total, as of the campaign’s June 30 end date, YDS alumni contributed $10.8 million.  Another $12 million came from alumni of the University’s other schools, including Yale College; $6.9 million came from individuals who are not Yale alumni; and $6.5 million from foundations, $122,000 from corporations, and $1.1 million from other organizations. The campaign was part of a university-wide campaign that raised $3.881 billion.

The Divinity Tomorrow total includes over $9.8 million raised through Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, YDS’s Episcopal Church affiliate.  

Co-chairing the Campaign were Tim Collins, a member of the YDS Board of Advisors (SOM ’82), and Alan Blanchard (Yale College ’61), who was later replaced by Charles Tyson, both members of the BDS Board of Trustees.  The co-chairs provided leadership in the early stages of the campaign in developing strategy and in the identification of potential supporters.  Other members of the Boards that provided significant volunteer support included:  Chris Sawyer ’75 M.Div. and Barbara Brown Taylor 76 M.Div., co-chairs of the YDS Board of Advisor; Carl Anderson, chair of the BDS Board of Trustees; and Jerry Henry ’80 M.Div., chair of the YDS Alumni Board. 

Among the major campaign accomplishments were:

  • A major boost in student financial aid that raises annual scholarship assistance from $1.6 million to $5.4 million annually.  Over 40 new endowed scholarship funds were established, helping to ensure that deserving students will be able to attend the Divinity School and graduate with reduced debt burdens.
  • Creation of three endowed faculty chairs (the Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School, the H. Boone and Violet M. Porter Chair in Religion and Environmental Stewardship [BDS], and the Margaret Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics [YDS]).
  • Expansion of YDS’s global reach through increased enrollment of international students and extension of the school’s international exchange and travel programs (including recent trips to China, Tanzania, the UK, and Egypt)
  • Bequest and planned gifts saw a major increase during the campaign with the Gift of a Lifetime initiative.  More than 200 bequests, planned gifts and other charitable vehicles were used to add more than $3 million toward the campaign and much more for the future of YDS.  In addition, BDS received over 40 bequests from members of its Bishop Berkeley Society.

“I am especially pleased with the major improvement in financial aid that the campaign made possible,” said Attridge.  “Improving financial aid has been the chief priority of my deanship. Though we have made enormous strides, students are burdened with significant indebtedness, especially when they enter modestly paying professions. Meeting student need will continue to be a major priority for the school in the years ahead.”

Joseph Britton, dean of Berkeley, said, “The financial support generated by the capital campaign has helped Berkeley Divinity School to launch five new initiatives that are critical to its mission to form lay and ordained leaders for the church of tomorrow: programs in leadership formation, global engagement, religion and ecology, and ministry in educational and urban settings.

“Not only do these initiatives put Berkeley in the vanguard of theological education in the Episcopal Church, but increased scholarship support also makes them accessible to students from throughout the church. Concluding such a successful campaign just as we mark the 40th anniversary of our full affiliation with Yale could not be more telling of the strength of Berkeley today.”

In the final year of the campaign, YDS identified five areas of special need, and initial funding was received for each.  These five areas of special emphasis will remain priorities for support for the years immediately following the campaign:

Joint degree program in religion and environmental stewardship. YDS has developed a foundation and growing reputation in this field. Additional funding is sought for scholarships in the joint Divinity School/School of Forestry and Environmental Studies degree program; a research fund focused on collaboration between YDS and FES; a lecture/colloquia series on religion and ecology.

Educational Leadership and Ministry Program.  In 2008, Berkeley Divinity School began the process of creating a program for the entire Yale Divinity community that would help prepare students for vocations in educational ministry.  Three years later, several courses are offered in this area, and a certificate program is now in place.  Funds are now sought to place this pioneering program on a firm foundation with endowment support to secure its future.

Global Education and Partnerships.  The Global Education and Partnership initiative seeks to provide new financial support for students from the U.S. to participate in a new spectrum of global opportunity programs including seminars, exchanges and internships. New resources are needed to build and sustain the expanded program.

Roman Catholic Student Scholarships.  YDS has emerged from its early Congregational origins to become a thoroughly ecumenical, nonsectarian institution, with a significant Roman Catholic presence. By establishing more funds like the newly created Henri Nouwen Scholarship fund aimed at Catholic students, YDS can ensure that gifted students of all religious traditions, including Roman Catholic, can pursue rigorous theological inquiry at the Divinity School each year.

Congregational Leadership and Ministerial Preparation.  A strong program of experiential learning exists at YDS through “supervised ministries,” but in recent years the financial downturn has made it impossible for the vast majority of parishes and mission programs to host students. An endowed fund is being established to support expanded opportunities in Supervised Ministries.  Funds are also sought to create an endowed professorship in evangelism and to establish a "best practices" program to strengthen congregational leadership.

Each of the new areas of emphasis gained momentum in the waning months of the campaign and is now well positioned for new infusions of support.

John Lindner, director of the Department of External Relations, expressed appreciation “not only for the generosity and dedication of donors and volunteers but also for the terrific staff team that worked to make the campaign a success—especially Constance Royster, YDS director of development, and Pamela Wesley Gomez, BDS director of development.”

Yale Divinity School celebrated the success of the Divinity Tomorrow campaign early in May during sessions for alumni and friends in Marquand Chapel and at Yale’s Greenberg Conference Center, where a gala dinner was held.  At that time, University President Richard Levin said, “I just want to add my thanks to all of you, for your loyalty, your involvement.  A place like this needs devoted alumni and friends who give some time, give advice, give money, who show up and care.  I know that you all care intensely about this place.”  

Posted: 10/03/2011