However, persistence paid off. Along with the news of the $26 million benchmark, the goal for the scholarship component has been well exceeded with $5.3 million in donations raised. (Donors can specify which areas they would like to see their dollars used.)
“From my personal standpoint, that is so terribly exciting. All of us who have been around education know it’s about the students,” Westphal said. “(It’s wonderful) for our supporters to realize that in light of the rapidly escalating cost of college.”
The facilities improvements already have been made on campus, Westphal said. The new Honsey Hall is at the corner of Division and Marsh streets, and various community groups use the space, including the Mayo Foundation Board and Southern Minnesota Advocates, among others.
In the final stage of fundraising, the college will reach out to alumni and friends of the college to donate in 2013. In the previous phase, the college went to area businesses and community members, and $650,000 in donations came in, Westphal said. A team of local volunteers, including the community campaign director David Wittenberg of U.S. Bank, led the community fundraising portion.
“Donors recognize the importance placed on teaching our future leaders intellectual and creative growth, spiritual development, self-understanding and responsible citizenship,” Wittenberg said. “We are blessed as a region to have an institution like Bethany focused on talent development issues along with their role as a model corporate citizen.”
So far, Westphal said, the campaign has had more than 2,300 donors, including 200 businesses. Of the total $26 million in pledges, 83 percent of that already has been received, he said.