The fund was established in 2005 by an anonymous Caltech Associates member who wanted to make sure the Institute could foster students’ growth and well-being through the whole university experience, which he recognized could include financial hardship. This safety net was nearly depleted in March 2020, as Caltech helped students cover unexpected expenses associated with vacating campus under the Safer at Home emergency order.
“We are immensely grateful to all of those who celebrated #CaltechTogether by extending financial support,” says Kevin Gilmartin, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and dean of undergraduate students. “Their generosity strengthens the Institute’s ability to ensure that our students continue to learn and grow in the face of tremendous challenges.”
#CaltechTogether brought together 778 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends, who contributed $132,978. Gifts were directed to support Caltech students in a variety of ways, through the Student Emergency Fund as well as the Caltech Fund, the Austin Memorial Fund for Wellness, undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and other areas of campus.
“The Caltech experience spans the generations in the way that defines our community,” says Mike Walsh (BS ’81), who offered a $10,000 match to incentivize others to donate on April 2. “It’s not a shock that the COVID-19 crisis would put a strain on the resources available to help our students cope, so kicking in a little extra to refill that fund is something that benefits all of us.”
A current student confirmed the value of the fund with a #CaltechTogether post: “Thanks to Caltech’s support, a few of my friends and I are renting an apartment together, which will allow us to continue collaborating and support each other’s learning during home isolation,” they wrote. “[This] would not be possible without the support of our community.”
“Whether you made a gift, shared words of encouragement, or posted a photo to lift our spirits,” says James Morse, executive director of the Caltech Fund and Parents Program, “Thank you to all who celebrated #CaltechTogether.”