The Gift that Spanned Two Time Zones
What if your heart beats to Eastern Time—but your feet move in Central Time? The generous spirit behind the Minnesota Scholarship Fund shows how alumnae/i wishing to use their resources for good aren’t forced to choose between Sarah Lawrence and their home communities: There is a way to provide for both at the same time.
Established in 2003—its cornerstone a $100,000 lead gift from Anne “Topsy” Larson Simonson ’51—the fund’s goal is to help the College support Minnesota students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend Sarah Lawrence.
“I’ve lived in Minnesota for forty-seven years,” says Simonson, a former Sarah Lawrence trustee whose family created the College’s first faculty chair, the Roy E. Larsen Chair for Child Development. “Helping current and prospective Minnesota students is a perfect fit. I certainly hope others will follow my lead and participate in any way they are able.”
Currently, 18 SLC students and some 125 alums call the Gopher State home.
“I wanted to join the effort to help a Minnesota student go to Sarah Lawrence,” says Mary Easter ’62, who directs the dance program at Carleton College. “Sarah Lawrence is very important to me. It’s an educational experience by which I measure all the others; and I’m an academic.”
The fund, explains donor Constance “Connie” Otis ’42, is “a way to pass the torch to more recent graduates and inspire them to really begin to take philanthropy, especially as it relates to Sarah Lawrence, seriously. And, most importantly, it creates a lasting and permanent gift for the future.”
Younger alums are already involved. Witness the participation of Tim Baldoni ’02, a West Coaster who now calls Minnesota home: Desiring to support any efforts linked to Sarah Lawrence, he volunteered his time to call fellow alums and publicize the fund and its objectives. Some 200 calls later, to alumnae/i of all eras, Baldoni has a new well of knowledge about Sarah Lawrence through the years. And the fund has grown appreciably through his efforts.
“I quite enjoyed my time at College and was sad to go,” he says. “I wasn’t too helpful as a donor, so it was nice to help out in another aspect.”
The fund’s goal of $1 million will allow it to contribute $60,000 a year in student financial aid—enough aid to ensure that Minnesota undergrads can step to Bronxville time year after year.