Paul Smith's College

Grant Name:  Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute Chair

Project Size: $500,000

Grant Amount: $250,000 (2013)

Strategic Value:  Increasing the Watershed Institute’s status at Paul Smith’s

In 2013 the Paul Smith’s Adirondack Watershed Institute (PSAWI) was an after-thought in the college’s programs and unknown to many of the college’s board members.  It did not appear on their website.  Despite this, it was and is the premier source for scientific study of Adirondack watersheds, monitoring nearly 100 lakes and performing critical invasive species mitigations.

Approached to make a $500,000 grant to underwrite a chair at the college, the Foundation made an aggressive proposal to the Chair and President: we would put up $250,000 to underwrite the Chair at the Watershed Institute, to be matched only by gifts and pledges from the board.  The full amount had to be pledged or received before our match would be issued.  The goal was to elevate the importance of this key department in the eyes of the college’s key supporters and administration.

Grant Analysis: A huge success

Despite much initial protestation, the college’s board agreed to our challenge and the $250,000 was raised in gifts spanning four years.  In 2016 all of the gifts had been received and matched and the PSAWI had become a crown jewel in the college’s programs, recruitment, and promotions.  New science programs nestled in the Watershed Institute with added degree options have been created.  Several board members have gone out of their way to complement the Foundation on this unique way that we used to get their attention and up their consciousness.