Just 38 hours after Davis & Elkins College announced that it received a challenge to raise $300,000 in fewer than180 days, more than $40,000 had been committed to the goal. Philanthropist and The Sunshine Lady Foundation President Doris Buffett has promised to match the money dollar for dollar to help fund the Highland Scholars program.
Donations have ranged from $50 to $25,000, D&E President G.T. "Buck" Smith told Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce members during its quarterly meeting on Wednesday.
The money has been contributed by alumni from across the globe, community members and faculty and staff, Smith explained. One donation came from an alumna who responded with a pledge to send $100 the exact minute the challenge notification e-mail was sent, Smith said.
Buffett herself is also planning to lend a hand to raise the $300,000 for D&E's side of the deal. In late April or early May, she will pay to bring one of the world's leading Gershwin Pianists, Jack Gibbons, to Harper-McNeeley Auditorium, Smith said.
Smith says there are plans to offer two concerts: one for school children during the day and another in the evening for adults. The concerts will be free and open to the public, but donations will go directly toward D&E's $300,000 goal.
The $600,000 will enable the college to provide 45 Highland Scholarships to high school seniors from area counties. Students from Randolph, Upshur, Barbour, Tucker, Pocahontas, Pendleton and Webster counties are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
D&E has until Aug. 30 to raise the $300,000. Smith has calculated that $1,714 needs to come in each day and there are already individuals who want to sponsor a day by contributing that approximate amount or more, he says. Smith also told ERCCC members that the Elkins community should feel pride that someone on a "world stage" has taken notice of the town because of the commitment to work together for a better future