How Much Money Does Founders’ Day Really Raise?


Le Moyne College’s annual Founders’ Day Gala, to be held this Friday, raises about $150,000 each year for student scholarships and financial aid.

According to Kimberly McAuliff, Senior Director of Leadership Gifts and Events, Le Moyne profits about $150,000 each Founders’ Day. The school’s 990 tax form shows that Le Moyne took in $288,230 on Founders’ Day in 2014, and spent $146,199. Founders’ Day is the largest fundraising event that Le Moyne holds. The 990 form lists the major fundraising events, including the annual Russo Golf Tournament, which brings in $50,659.

The biggest contributor for the Founder’s Day Gala is Sodexo, Le Moyne’s food service provider, which donates $25,000 each year. Sodexo is also Le Moyne’s largest independent contract. Sodexo Inc. affiliates has a $1,829,796 contract for campus dining services, according to the 2014 990 form.

“Sodexo understands the importance of giving back to the colleges that they’re at,” said McAuliff. “They get the notion that you should give back to the place you work.”

Tickets for the gala, which is held in the Thomas J. Niland Jr. Athletic Complex, are $300 each.

“A portion of that ticket, which is $130, goes toward the actual cost of the meal. So when you look at the contribution, the tax deductible portion of the ticket, it’s $170,” said McAuliff. “Once we cover the cost of the ticket which is $130, their $170 is a donation so they get credit for a donation to the college based on that ticket. For some people, that’s their gift to the college for the year.”

Each Founders’ Day, Le Moyne honors a different person. “Here we honor one person, a local person, with the Simon Le Moyne medal, and again that circles back to Simon Le Moyne who is the founder of the college, so it all kind of ties together,” said McAuliff. “This year, we are honoring Mrs. [Aminy] Audi.”

“In 2014, we stepped back and honored our first class, the class of 1951. So we did everything black and white, very simple, and most of those folks were in their mid 80’s,” said McAuliff. “Not many schools can say we are going to honor our first class and have them be there. We had 23 members of the class there! We are such a young college that we could do that.”

McAuliff revealed that when Le Moyne honored a class instead of a local individual, the profit was lower. “When we honored a class, we didn’t have the corporate support, so the revenue was a little less there but it was the right thing to do,” said McAuliff. “We dipped a little bit on the revenue, but we were perfectly fine with it because of the celebration of the first class.”

McAuliff expects to meet her goal for profit from this year’s Founders’ Day. “My goal is always to make budget, which is $150,000. So, I would think we’ll fall somewhere between $150,000 and $160,000.”

The money from Founders’ Day is used for student aid and scholarship awards. “That’s a good thing [because] the last number I saw was something like over 90 percent of our students receive some type of financial aid,” said McAuliff. “It makes you feel good that you come to this dinner and you directly help students.”

Any person or group who donates $5,000 or more has a chef visit their table after dinner. According to McAuliff, “What the chefs usually do is bring a plate of cookies or bring some chocolates to the table and say ‘Hey, did you like the dinner?’ It’s just a real nice after dinner pause…and people love it!”