From Here: The Campaign for Bowdoin

Bowdoin Announces the First Promise Challenge

The College is excited to announce the First Promise Challenge: an anonymous donor has agreed to contribute $5,000,000 in matching funds for financial aid and comprehensive aid, to encourage others to support this core campaign priority.

The first phase of the challenge begins now, and focuses on new endowment donors: donors who establish a new endowed fund for financial aid or comprehensive aid receive a $100,000 match for the fund. For alumni in the ten youngest classes, a $50,000 endowment gift unlocks a $50,000 match. On January 1, the challenge opens to all financial aid and comprehensive aid endowments, new or existing. (See inside this issue for more details.)

The first promise of the From Here campaign is a commitment to access and opportunity—that students who have earned a place at Bowdoin can enroll, regardless of their financial means, and can take advantage of all of the extraordinary opportunities that the College offers. 

Bowdoin makes this promise real through need-blind admission; financial aid that meets full demonstrated need with grants, not loans; and comprehensive aid that removes financial barriers and ensures all students have the tools to succeed. This includes the technology and materials students need to fully participate in classes, the guidance to find their passions, and the care they need to stay healthy—even winter coats and boots to keep warm.

To date, generous donors have given and pledged nearly $140 million toward the $200 million campaign goal for financial and comprehensive aid. 


A commitment to financial aid isn’t just about the kinds of families we want to help—it defines the kind of college that we strive to be.

The purpose of the First Promise Challenge is to inspire the Bowdoin community to meet this critical goal, so that the College can deliver on its core promise to current and future generations of Bowdoin students.

Donors of $100,000 or more to a named scholarship or comprehensive aid endowment are eligible to receive a single $100,000 match to their endowed fund, as follows:

  • The Challenge begins on September 1 and ends when fifty commitments are secured and the $5,000,000 in matching funds is fully allocated. Eligibility will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • During the first phase of the challenge, from September 1 through December 31, donors who establish their first scholarship or comprehensive aid endowment are eligible for the $100,000 match. These donors will automatically receive matching funds.
  • Beginning on January 1, donors to existing scholarships or comprehensive aid endowments are also eligible for the match, as long as the matching funds have not yet been fully allocated. These donors will be matched upon request.
  • To qualify for a match, a donor’s gift or pledge of $100,000 or more may be payable over up to five years. The $100,000 match will be added directly to the donor’s named endowment fund once their gift and pledge payments total $100,000.
  • GOLD donors (graduates of the last decade, or Classes of 2012–2021) will be eligible with recorded commitments of $50,000, with a one-to-one match of up to $100,000 from the challenge pool.

For more information about the First Promise Challenge, contact Michael Archibald, vice president for development and alumni relations, at 207-725-3670 or, or your contact in the development and alumni relations office.