— by Laura Kochman, Associate Director of Development, Annual Fund and Alumni Relations, and Natalie Poirier, Development Associate

The economic landscape of higher education has been rapidly evolving, and now COVID-19 has brought some of these conversations to the forefront. In order to operate (pay salaries, upgrade facilities and equipment, and much more), we all know that colleges charge tuition, but also rely on philanthropy as a critical financial piece of the puzzle. The reality of higher education everywhere is that the cost of tuition does not actually cover the cost to operate—let alone to offer fellowships and awards or support student affairs initiatives, which are essential parts of a vibrant campus. As institutions across the country (including Moore) find creative ways to increase financial aid in response to the economic downturn, we wanted to share some of the philanthropic spirit that makes this possible. 

Designed to last in perpetuity, endowments are highly important in providing discounted tuition. They provide a stable source of funds that allow Moore to award consistent levels of student support. But what is an endowment? Essentially, it’s a lump sum that is carefully invested, and the annual interest is what becomes scholarship money—so endowed support will keep going (and keep growing) for generation after generation. 

With all the financial effects of COVID-19, you can see why consistency and stability are so important. They help Moore provide student support even in turbulent times, as well as helping the College plan into the future. As we focus right now on students deciding whether they can afford to enroll, transfer or remain in college, it is so meaningful to have donors who continue to provide endowments. 

Two alums—Dr. Marcia Taylor '70 and Kia Weatherspoon ASID '10—have shown their support by creating their own endowments. And our alums are not alone in giving during this crisis: Members of our broader community, like Dr. George Leon, a former market researcher and frequent Senior Show attendee, have also pledged endowed support. 

After earning an undergraduate degree in Art Education from Moore in 1970, Taylor earned two PhDs in Art Therapy and Behavioral Science. She is a scholar working at the intersection of art education and therapy, and recently retired from The College of New Jersey after serving as associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. 

Taylor’s endowment will support students in the Young Artists Workshop (YAW), with which she has a very personal connection. Not only did she teach in the program while a student herself, but her daughter is also a former YAW student. YAW was one of the first youth art education programs in the country, and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, which also marks 50 years since Taylor graduated from Moore.  

Weatherspoon has also created an endowment in a landmark year, as she celebrates 10 years since graduation. An accomplished interior designer, she founded the Washington, DC-based firm Determined by Design after earning her BFA in Interior Design. In her professional life, she focuses on affordable housing and senior living spaces, so it’s no surprise that she believes in giving back. 

Weatherspoon’s endowment will provide financial support to an Interior Design student during their summer internship. When asked what drove her to make this gift now, she said she did not want to wait.

“I always thought I couldn’t give until I was older, and that ‘large’ or ‘significant’ giving is something you do in your more-seasoned years of life," she said. "But why wait? I am grateful for my Moore experience right now.” 

Like other members of the extended Moore community, Dr. George Leon may not have graduated from the College, but strongly believes in the Moore mission. Thirteen years ago, a friend brought him to the Senior Show, and he was so moved by the quality of the work that he has attended every year since, and has many pieces of Moore student artwork in his personal collection. Leon was most recently a senior vice president at Naxion, leading the organization’s market research efforts, and this spring he wanted to show how much he believes in Moore students through an endowment. This endowment will provide support to Moore students at a critical time in their careers—right as they graduate. Leon’s gift has created a new annual Senior Show award for a student who demonstrates excellence in Interior Design or Graphic Design. 

We share these stories because we want you to know how much our community of donors believes in Moore students. Even at this uncertain time, when the future may be hard to see, philanthropy is alive and well.