Sailing Past $100 Million
When president Roger Brown and the Berklee Board of Trustees contemplated launching a second capital campaign, the Berklee community was torn. On the one hand, Giant Steps, the college’s first campaign in its 65-year history, was a resounding success. Launched in 2006 with a goal of $40 million, Giant Steps posted a final total of $54.5 million five years later. Understandably, trustees, members of the President’s Advisory Council (PAC), the president and administration were optimistic about a second campaign, especially when the college received the largest gift in its history, an unanticipated $8.4 million bequest, in 2012. Tempering that enthusiasm, trustees recognized that it was a tough time. The U.S. economy had struggled in the aftermath of the great recession; Berklee’s administration was preoccupied with launching the college’s first master’s degree courses at its new Valencia, Spain, campus; and it was completing the college’s first purpose-built facility at 160 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. Then, as the board and president debated, three trustees: John Connaughton, Ann Kreis P’11, ’13; and Jeff Walker, volunteered to become the cochairs. Fueling determination, a fourth trustee presented a strong case to aim high. As fiscal year 2015 began, Berklee set a goal of $100 million and launched “Soundbreaking: The Campaign for Berklee” with three comprehensive objectives:
- Create a global laboratory of musical discovery and artistry
- Promote the power of music to change people’s lives for the better
- Transform the current model of higher education
At the time of the launch, a $100 million goal seemed attainable, but only with dogged, determined effort, taking advantage of every minute of the five-year public campaign period through May 31, 2019. No one imagined the possibility of reaching the goal early. However, after a little more than three years, Soundbreaking sailed past the goal. As we go to press, the campaign total is nearly $109 million, with 17 months remaining.
Just as important, we have nearly reached the informal goal of raising half for scholarships, posting a total of almost $48 million. Gifts include a new all-time high record contribution of $12 million, plus gifts of $5 million, $3 million, two at $2 million, several $1 million-plus, and a number in the $100,000–$500,000 range. Thanks to the generosity of trustees, PAC members, alumni, parents, and patrons; Soundbreaking support for students and faculty has helped Berklee launch new programs online and on three campuses in Boston, Valencia, Spain; and now, New York City. As Soundbreaking continues in these final months, we are grateful to all who have made its past success possible, and those who now are considering a gift.