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Ways to Support Students

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Current Use Gifts

Current use gifts provide Swarthmore with the flexibility to say "yes" to good ideas and react quickly to unexpected challenges — like the COVID-19 pandemic. Current use gifts are always fossil-fuel free because they are put to work right away instead of being invested in the endowment.

Current use funding plays a vital role in supporting new ideas and innovative programming. The President's Fund for Racial Justice is an excellent example of how current use gifts can kick-start an initiative and support pilot projects while an endowed fund grows over time to eventually support successful programs in perpetuity.

The Swarthmore Fund

Make an immediate impact on Swarthmore students with a current use gift through The Swarthmore Fund. Your Swarthmore Fund gift honors the challenging, rigorous, and transformative education that shaped you or your student, and empowers you to help provide that opportunity to someone else.

The Swarthmore Fund sustains every aspect of the Swarthmore experience and provides the elements that make Swarthmore an extraordinary place to live, learn, and grow, such as:

  • loan-free financial aid
  • collaborative research with professors
  • hundreds of arts and athletics activities
  • social justice initiatives  

Your Swarthmore Fund gift can support the area of greatest need (unrestricted), or it can be designated to support a specific program or initiative that you care about. If you would like to make a current use gift, you can give online or learn more about the various ways to give to Swarthmore.


Endowed Funds

An endowment is a pool of funds that supports a specific institution in perpetuity by distributing a limited amount each year and  growing over time. By contributing to or creating an endowed fund at Swarthmore, you can make a perpetual impact on the College. Swarthmore donors commonly designate their endowed funds to support financial aid or faculty teaching, scholarship, and research. More information about supporting scholarships and professorships is below. Endowed funds also support the College’s general operations, building maintenance, co-curricular programs, and more.

College Advancement staff will work with you to create an endowed fund that best meets your philanthropic goals for Swarthmore, that is named by you, and invested in the College’s endowment or the Fossil Fuel Free Fund. The Board of Managers established the Fossil Fuel Free Fund in 2015. As the name implies, the fund's resources will be invested exclusively in portfolios that are completely fossil fuel free. It shares the purpose of the College's general endowment – to support and build Swarthmore's future.

To begin a conversation about endowment giving, contact Renée Atkinson, Associate Vice President of Advancement, at or 610-328-8323.


All students who demonstrate financial need are offered scholarship aid, about 50% of which comes from endowed funds. Financial need is a requirement for all scholarships (except the McCabe Scholarships) but an additional preference may, upon approval by the College, be included in the fund’s purpose. Actual examples include preference given to:

  • a student with a demonstrated interest in the humanities.
  • students who have plans to or are currently studying in Africa.
  • students from New Jersey majoring in economics or mathematics.
  • View the full list of endowed scholarships.


Endowed chairs honor our faculty and help to enhance the curriculum; they also honor donors and their families. As with scholarships, preferences may be cited in the fund’s purpose. Some professorship citations include:

  • The Howard A. Schneiderman '48 Professorship in Biology was established by his wife, Audrey M. Schneiderman, to be awarded to a professor in the Biology Department.
  • The Daniel Underhill Professorship of Music was established in 1976 by a bequest from Bertha Underhill to honor her husband, Class of 1894 and a member of the Board of Managers.
  • View the full list of endowed professorships.

Capital Projects

A significant portion of the funding for projects that improve Swarthmore's physical campus come from philanthropic contributions. Renovations and new construction projects are important for many reasons, including improving the energy efficiency of older buildings, responding to the changing needs of students, and ensuring intergenerational equity. 

In June 2020 construction began on the Dining and Community Commons. This project reimagines the social and dining experiences that are central to Swarthmore’s ability to fulfill its mission of educating the whole person. Naming opportunities for individual spaces are available, and all gifts of $25,000 and above will be recognized in the building. For more information, contact Renée Atkinson, Associate Vice President of Advancement, at or 610-328-8323.