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Catalyst Fund to raise $100 million for scholarships

Published: March 28, 2014
Section: News


President Fred Lawrence announced the formation of the Catalyst Fund on Thursday at the 12th Annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon before students and donors to the university. The Fund aims to raise $100 million, and this money will solely be used to fund scholarships for undergraduate students and fellowships for graduate students. The funds will be in use by Dec. 2016.

Brandeis has already raised more than one-third of the fund’s goal due to generous gifts from leading donors. Alumni trustees have donated $7.5 million and $5 million, and two friends of the university have donated $5 million.

“The Catalyst Fund is a bold statement of our belief that a Brandeis education—open to all—truly changes the arc of young people’s lives. As our alumni demonstrate, these individuals go on to change the world for the better in many large and small ways. Accessibility and affordability of higher education has been a core commitment of Brandeis since its founding,” said President Lawrence.

Of the $100 million, $75 million will be raised for endowment while $25 million will be for current use. The amount put toward endowment is high because this money will be invested, and five or six percent of this will be put toward student scholarships every year. The university aims to allow this money both to be used immediately and to be accessible for future classes of students. When $75 million is placed in endowment, this provides about $3.75 million each year, according to David Nathan, director of development communications. The more that is placed in endowment, the greater the return that will be available for student scholarships.

Last year, undergraduate students were awarded $54.5 million in grants and scholarships. Nathan said that it is too early to know how the Catalyst Fund will impact individual financial aid packages.

“The Catalyst Fund will help Brandeis continue to attract the most promising students—regardless of their financial backgrounds—and ensure that the diversity of the student body is reflective of the wider world around us,” said Trustee Jonathan Davis ’75, co-chair of the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees.

The university will ask alumni, parents, trustees, friends and members of the Brandeis National Committee to donate to the Catalyst Fund.

The Fund was initiated in January of this year but was announced to the public on Thursday. The university expects many students to be impacted by this fundraising campaign, as almost two out of three students receives some form of financial aid.