When ASTFA members learned that the AST Library was facing cuts due to the looming Covid-19 pandemic, they took action. As a first step, in May 2020, ASTFA voted to surrender a $5,000 supplementary travel fund, newly established in the fourth Collective Agreement, on the condition that it be transferred to the library’s electronic resources budget. Then, as an Association and as individuals, it pledged $4,500 in cash to a special library fundraising campaign that it helped plan and promote, with the goal of raising at least $15,500 in further donations.
In the end, ASTFA and its individual members contributed $4,700 to library resources, and helped raise over $18,600 from other friends of the library. Combined with the reallocation of ASTFA travel funds, the grand total of new library funds raised in May–June 2020 exceeded $28,000.
Throughout June, ASTFA partnered with the AST Advancement Office and Pine Hill Divinity Hall to raise emergency funds for library resources. ASTFA took inspiration from a generous $10,000 matching grant from Pine Hill, conducted the campaign in alignment with the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, and made an appeal in honour of a beloved faculty colleague, Sr. Joan Campbell, due to retire at the end of the same month. It launched the June 2020 campaign with $2,500 from its common purse.
This video captures the heart of the appeal:
With support from more than 110 individual donors, the goal was met and surpassed. A total of $23,318 was raised to preserve and extend key electronic resources at a time when a virus forced the campus to close, and made it necessary to redesign the campus-based Summer Term for online delivery only.
Leadership gifts included:
- the $10,000 matching gift from Pine Hill,
- the second largest gift of $2,500, from ASTFA’s collective funds,
- gifts from all full-time faculty members, who together donated $2,200 from personal funds (an average of $275 per person).
The average gift overall was $116.82 per person, according to the Advancement Office. Some 45 donors gave to AST for the first time ever, including several recent alumni, a few current students, and a number of colleagues, friends, and family of ASTFA members. The published list of contributors also reveals the generosity of AST staff, formation directors, senators, board members, and even former formation directors and faculty members (Martin Rumscheidt, Eileen Schuller, Susan Slater).
ASTFA is grateful for the cooperation and support of AST’s Advancement Office, and for the benevolent responses of so many more. Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed funds last year. Thanks also to the Library Chair and the student, library, and faculty members of the Library Acquisitions Working Group, who worked together to develop AST’s plan to put the special funds to best use. Crucial resources for theological education are being maintained and enhanced in 2020 and 2021 as a result.