Meeting the moment: FY21 Update

The Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge inspired record-breaking gifts for endowed financial aid, supporting students from across the economic spectrum.

Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge

In fiscal year 2021, incredible champions of Mount Holyoke initiated a historic Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge. Trustee Liz Cochary Gross ’79 and Phill Gross pledged a record-breaking $10 million gift in support of scholarship aid, and Nancy Nordhoff ’54 made a generous $1 million gift.

“With this gift, my husband Phill and I hope to inspire others to invest. We need to ensure students with diverse backgrounds and from a wide variety of economic circumstances have the opportunity to join the Mount Holyoke community and thrive as student scholars and change agents.” — Liz Cochary Gross ’79

Inspired by this opportunity, 64 generous alums and friends met this challenge with gifts in support of endowed financial aid totaling $12 million through June 30, 2021. These funds will support financial aid for hundreds of Mount Holyoke students. 

Mount Holyoke Fund Scholars Match

In January 2021, Mount Holyoke trustee Bess Weatherman ’82 issued a special match in support of the College’s scholarship fundraising initiative. The Mount Holyoke Fund Scholars Match was a tremendous success — in just four weeks, 34 donors rose to the challenge, bringing in $250,000 in new gifts and pledges for the Mount Holyoke Fund Scholars Program. 

Inspired by the tremendous response, trustee Monica Landry ’90 issued a new challenge so even more people could directly support our talented students. This opportunity once again matched, dollar for dollar, all new gifts between $5,000 and $25,000 made to The Mount Holyoke Fund Scholars Program

Each Mount Holyoke Fund Scholars gift provides a one-year named scholarship in the amount of the gift to a student with demonstrated need.

Student Safety Net Fund

As the world adjusted to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mount Holyoke community worked tirelessly amid uncertain circumstances, swiftly pivoting to a completely remote fall semester in 2020. Faculty and staff took up the challenge to create a new flexible immersive teaching model that allowed students to access the College's robust curriculum regardless of their location, while students and families modified their plans to focus on setting up classroom and study spaces at home.

There were, however, students whose personal circumstances required more urgent additional financial help. To address these concerns, Mount Holyoke established the Student Safety Net Fund, a new grant program to provide support to currently enrolled first-generation and/or low-income students having a difficult time meeting living and educational expenses. Gifts to the Student Safety Net Fund directly helped students take advantage of the Mount Holyoke experience by providing funds for essential living expenses, technology expenses, and emergency needs. Thanks to the generosity of Bess Weatherman ’82 and Mary Dee Beall ’64, this fund is now endowed and will in perpetuity support the essential needs of first-generation and low-income students.