John Sexton Announces 1831 Fund Contribution

On Saturday, NYU President John Sexton announced he would match every dollar donated to the 1831 Fund, the scholarship program in which donations of at least $18.31 (representing 1831, NYU’s inaugural year) are awarded to incoming freshmen and transfer students.

In 2011, the 1831 Fund received donations from 275 students. This past year’s recipients received over $85,000 in combined scholarship funds from 550 students, doubling the previous year’s recipients.

So far, 1831 Fund has reached 169 donors for a total of $3,314.00. By August 31, the program hopes to raise at least $15,000 from 1,100 students to double their support from last year. The goal amount is more likely to be reached considering John Sexton’s & Trustee Dale Hemmerdinger’s generous contributions, but the number of students willing to donate to their peers remains to be seen.

If you’re wondering why you should give $18.31 to a future student, NYU’s 1831 Fund FAQ offers some interesting arguments, including “It makes you a hero,” and “You add value to your degree by ensuring that the best and brightest are able to attend NYU in the future.” If that’s not encouraging enough, consider that the $18.31 donated by you immediately becomes $36.62, thanks to our friendly neighborhood President John Sexton. Hemmerdinger’s contribution will boost it to a nothing-to-sneeze-at $54.93.

Besides the 1831 Fund organization’s recommendations, maybe you should just donate knowing that it will cost these rich guys an infinitesimal part of their fortunes. Or, you could be a normal,cheap 20-something like us and do one of these fun things and just hope that older alumni with actual careers and saving accounts can cough up a little bit more for endowment.

And let it be noted; if you donate a whopping $250, you are inducted to the Young Alumni Leadership Circle, which (we assume) includes a cape, a golden scepter, and one of those fantastic Sexton hugs we’ve been hearing about.

As for the $17k raised so far? That’s 1/40th of  the amount that ex-Executive VP Jack Lew was paid when he received a$685,000 severance bonus in 2006. But don’t worry—as National co-editor John Surico puts it,”$54.93 is 1/38764th of the total student debt at NYU. It’s all about relativity!” Fun, fun facts.

[Image 1 via, 2 & 3 courtesy of author]


    Share Your Thoughts


  1. Derek C. says

    NYU’s 1831 Fund is an amazing organization, and you must remember that giving to this fund is NOT giving to NYU– It is giving to those who wish to attend, but cannot yet afford it. The 1831 Fund is a one-of-a-kind, and is making a huge difference. DONATE!!!

  2. Myles Tanzer says

    Is it really making “a huge difference” though?

    $17,000 is a nice gesture but it’s not even enough to pay for one semester at NYU for one person (room and board included). Obviously there’s the argument that “every little bit helps,” but with an impact so little, does it really help all that much?

    I bet if that $17,000 dollars was spent lobbying older alumni for money then the 1831 Fund would see a greater return on its efforts.

  3. Derek C. says

    The process of giving back to prospective students and supporting their dreams to attend NYU is a very mutually-beneficial undertaking, and one that allows current NYU students to feel a closer bond with their school.

    I don’t see how an alternative using that money to lobby for larger efforts would benefit the NYU community as a whole. The whole point of giving is NOT that the money goes to NYU, but rather that you are helping individuals attend the university.

    Personally, I would absolutely give (and have given) to that cause. If the money was going to NYU as an institution, I would NOT give to the cause. See the difference?

  4. Joey Bahng says

    **My first attempt at posting didn’t work, and I think it may have been because the comment was too long, so I broke it up into two pieces**

    Raising the money from students can be more effective for exactly the reason this article was written; unlike other donations made by older alumni, the gifts that students give in support of each other are tripled. Furthermore, the $17,000 that the NYU 1831 Fund has already raised does, in a way, constitute a lobby to alumni. The subsets of the alumni population that the NYU 1831 Fund is lobbying, however, are the alumni that have graduated in the past two years, and who will graduate in the years to come. According to his study out of Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University), Jeff E. Hoyt found that “only 1% of non-donors reported that they would definitely give during the current year, compared with 19% of donors, and 47% of current donors” (14). Although Hoyt’s study applies to a specific university, the logic of his results appears sound; people who have given in the distant past or who give on a regular basis are more inclined to give again than people who have never given before. Because the NYU 1831 Fund fosters a community of giving for current students at NYU, the NYU 1831 Fund will increase the proportion of alumni who have already given. If we accept the findings of Hoyt’s study, then an increased proportion of alumni who have already given will constitute a larger base of favorable alumni for outreach in the future. As Hoyt puts it, “maintaining a student-centered approach [is] crucial. Expanding scholarship programs could have long-term benefits in terms of alumni giving and is ideal for alumni donations” (23).

  5. Joey Bahng says

    So, to the question at hand: does the NYU 1831 Fund make a ‘huge difference?’ While it is true that $17,000 would not pay for one semester, I think the huge difference that the NYU 1831 Fund makes is in terms of what it says about our community and what we are willing to do to support each other. Although $18.31 might not seem like much, a gift of $18.31 is not only a potential stimulus to increasing alumni giving, but it also contributes to a tangible, need-based scholarship that will be awarded to an incoming freshman or transfer student. Personally, I want to know that my donation has gone directly toward helping a student in need come to NYU rather than into the complicated abyss of administrative spending that may–or may not–include direct solicitation of gifts from older alumni. The NYU 1831 Fund circumvents questionable spending policies because it is a student-run organization with support from NYU administration, and not the other way around.

    **I had a link to the study here, but it’s a .pdf, and I now think that my attempt to include the link is what is preventing the comment from posting. Contact me for the URL.**