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Class of '09 Gift Kicks Off

It was a rainy evening at the Yale Farm, but that didn't discourage the class of 2009 from turning out for fresh oven-baked pizza, Costco wine, and enthusiasm for giving back to SOM. One of the things I have been working on this spring is the Class Gift. With 6 fellow classmates, we have been working hard to figure out the best way to reach out to our class. We are asking them to give back to SOM as all of our careers grow over the next few years. We ask people to pledge a certain amount, given in small portions over the next four years. Nothing is due today. Our first event kicked off last night, and I was so pleased! Our class president Matt Kopac '09 gave a very nice speech (quoted below), and we already have 20% participation. We are hoping to reach 100% by next week--the fun is just beginning!

Remarks from the Class Gift Kick-off Event - May 4, 2009

SOM is notorious for its pride. We as students and alumni are fiercely supportive and protective of our institution. In this spirit, SOM has a proud tradition of alumni giving. Over recent years, among MBA programs only Tuck graduates have given back to their alma mater in greater proportion than SOM grads.

We are asking you to make a pledge.

I know it’s hard to believe, but we are just three weeks and one day away from trading in our email addresses for We are three weeks and one day away from being graduates and alumni.

We have made our mark while we’ve been here at SOM. We have taken the school to new heights. Just as importantly, we have kept the ship steady in some tumultuous times. Now is our time to think about giving back, and keeping SOM strong for future generations. One way we can do that is by becoming givers ourselves. Hence, the Class Gift.

We are asking you to make a pledge.

Of course, we are still students. Even for those among us who have jobs lined up, salaries have not kicked in. Many, like me, are still looking for employment. And we have generously given recently for the internship fund, GSE and other causes.

But now is the time to make a pledge for the future. You would owe nothing now. We are not asking you to pull out your checkbook today. More than a pledge of money, it is pledge of support for the future excellence of this institution. Especially with the recent drop in the endowment, alumni financial support is even more important today.

Times may be uncertain now, but I am certain we will succeed. We will all excel in our careers. One year from now we will be in a better position than we are now, and three years after we will be on even more solid ground. By then we will be managers and leaders in our field, if not before.

We are asking you to make a pledge.

Last year the most popular giving category was the $2,008 level. As the pledge form states, this means $200 in 2010, $400 in 2011, $600 in 2012 and $809 in 2013.

Of course we would like to raise as much money as possible. But our focus this year is on a show of unity - our class standing together in support of each other and in support of SOM. The greatest percentage SOM has ever had for a graduating class is 81%. We are shooting for 100%.

We ask you to give at a level that both reflects your gratitude for this experience and is realistic for you financially. We want you to be comfortable with your pledge, and to fulfill it. We have laid out some options for you, but we invite you to speak with us and structure your own pledge as you see fit.

Thank you for being here today, and thank you for taking part in the proud SOM tradition of giving back!

--Matt Kopac