The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff ed: Changes to Pioneer Fund

Compared to other school’s, our alums don’t give much “back” to their school after their tuition payments are through. Over the past (few) years, Senior Challenge (name change?) has attempted to reverse this trend by asking soon-to-be-graduates to donate whatever paltry sum they can scrounge up to the College’s Pioneer Fund. And, as one could guess, the Challenge is often left (unchallenged)—and, often, rightfully so.

The Pioneer Fund that “unrestricted” donations go to is used as a blanket fund—it may be used for paying a professor, buying computers or building a multi-thousand gallon concrete water container. In short, the Pioneer fund can be used for more or less anything on campus. And so every dollar that a senior—or alum, for that matter—drops in response to the challenge disappears into the gray abyss of the college’s accounting. Without a connection to the use of those ‘greens,’ it’s easy to understand why someone would not want to part with a substantial part of their income.

That’s why we applaud recent news that the college is cutting some of the Red Tape on “restricted” gifts, or donations that go directly to a specific (cause) on campus, as chosen by the giver. Currently, one cannot donate less than $10 or more than $100 to a specific thing, and the Senior Challenge funds go to the “unrestricted” funds. But, if proposed plans to make restricted giving more boundless and direct the Senior Challenge there, the College will make several important steps.

First of all, they will get the money they so often complain that they don’t get. Alums would much rather donate to the organizations and nebulous ideals that they embodied during their time at Grinnell—we at the S&B would much rather donate to a publication like the B&S than watch our money disappear into some hole in the ground. And this is for good reason, as seniors and alums should have their chance to give back to the parts of this College that gave so much to them.

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