Each year countless students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and parents show their love for Bates College through monetary donations. The Class of 2016 is invited to make their first contributions by giving to the “Senior Gift.”

The money donated does not go toward a bench inscribed with a donor’s name, a tree etched with “Class of 2016,” or another bobcat statue. Instead, it goes into the Bates Fund— used to subsidize anything and everything from the Career Development Center and financial aid to athletics and the library.

According to the annual Report of Giving 2015, in the 2014-2015 year over $21 million was donated to Bates–a 35 percent increase over 2013-14. Over $6 million of this is the Bates Fund. The most money went to academics and the least to athletics.

Katherine Kaplan, the Senior Gift co-chair, explains that “The Bates Fund helps make up the difference between the cost of tuition and the actual cost of educating each student.” What the college does not pay for with tuition fees is almost always paid for in part by the Bates Fund. It is not used to construct new buildings or renovate athletic facilities, but through the donations to the fund, future Batesies will have the same day-to-day experiences and opportunities that previous classes have enjoyed during their four years.

And more good news: any amount donated that is $25 or above will be anonymously matched.

Although Bates Class of 2012 holds the record for the most donated—raising $11,000 by their class alone— and the Class of 2013 holds the record for most participants (92.18%), goals for this year are manageable. The Senior Gift co-chairs, Katherine Kaplan and Rebecca Dobbin, aim to have 70 percent class participation and $10,000 raised by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Giving is easy: Visit www.bates.edu/give, mail a check to the Annual Giving Office at 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME, 04240, or call 1-888-522-8371 anytime between 8 am and 4:30 pm.

Seniors can also give directly at events hosted by the Senior Gift committee, including cocktail parties and tabling in Commons. The committee is at work on some incentives for giving, which have been successful in the past. In 2013, the committee organized a friendly competition between Bates and Colby for which senior class could donate the most. And Bates won!

As Kaplan so eloquently states, “strong participation in our senior gift is a foundation to being an engaged class in the years ahead. We are role models for the classes behind us.”