Stakeholder Group Delivers Cash to Sweet Briar—And More Than Was Pledged!

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September 1, 2015; Washington Post

As NPQ readers will remember, Saving Sweet Briar is the nonprofit that was formed by stakeholders to help save the college when the former board voted in March to close it. But in June, after a number of court hearings, a settlement agreement was struck that resulted in the president and board resigning and a new board being installed.

As part of that agreement, Saving Sweet Briar, which had been fundraising for just such an occasion, was to put $12 million toward this year’s operation, with another $16 million to be taken from the endowment. The payments were to be made in three installments, with the last of $3.5 million scheduled for today—and yesterday, SSB announced that not only would the money be wired to the college’s account at noon, but Mary Pope Hutson, chair of the Major Donor Task Force, says that the payment will be more than what was agreed upon.

There’s no doubt that this will not be an easy road for the new leaders of Sweet Briar College, but many doubted they could achieve the settlement, let alone make the entirety of the payments within such a short period. I, on the other hand, am not at all surprised. The job ahead for this new board will be making best use of the incredible energy around the organization.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Thank you Ruth for this great article and for reporting the successful efforts to save Sweet Briar College! I was honored to work on the Major Gift Task Force for the effort. We had none of the traditional records that most fundraisers (like me) are used to having. We called and boldly asked — and the alumnae and friends responded. After being asked by so many colleagues, “HOW did they do it?”, I wrote this piece about the incredible alumnae engagement: http://beingunlocked.com/2015/08/saving-sweet-briar-a-story-of-alumnae-engagement-part-i-of/