PELLA — Central College secured more than $7.8 million to support student scholarships, programming and operations during fiscal year 2021-22, a 2.4% increase over the previous year.

"Our goal this past year and moving forward is to grow the Journey Scholarship Fund so Central can give every student a $1,000 donor-funded Journey Scholarship," says Sunny Gonzales Eighmy, vice president for advancement and a 1999 Central graduate. "We reached that goal this year for 100% of our incoming class and are forever grateful to our alumni and friends who place high value on supporting our students and higher education at Central."

The Journey Scholarship Fund received $1,632,000. At Central, 100% of gifts to the Journey Scholarship Fund directly support students. Total annual giving was $2,978,000, which exceeded the previous year's giving. Total overall giving to the college last fiscal year was $7,856,875 — just $731 shy of the second best year of overall fundraising during President Mark Putnam's tenure.

The college also witnessed an increase in the number of endowed scholarships created, with 24 new scholarships formed, bringing the total of endowed scholarships at the college to 305. Donations to endowments reached $3,927,000. Endowed funds established at Central also directly support student education and leave a sustainable, long-term legacy of generosity by the donor. The 2021-22 fundraising success came from 3,752 participants.

Highlights of the year's fundraising activities include:

— $1.97 million from the estate of James Naccarato, class of 1943, to fund the James Naccarato Scholarship.

— $700,000 pledged from the Braskamp siblings (all Central alumni) for the Allan and Grace Braskamp Endowment.

— $500,000 for the Poppen Diversity Scholarship and the Poppen Fund for Social Justice Programs from Paul Poppen, class of 1969.

— $224,000 from the estate of Henry Van Leeuwen, class of 1950.

The Chronicles of Philanthropy magazine reports that the number of Americans who give to nonprofits has dropped. Some attribute the loss to disengagement with the cause. Central has rebuked that trend.

"The lifetime commitment of the Central family has bucked that trend in a good way for Central," Eighmy reports. "Our alumni and friends know the value of a Central education and the positive impact Central students and alumni are making every day in our world."

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