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Transforming the Annual Fund into The Oberlin Fund has involved more than adding categories to which donors can direct their gifts; it has also involved revamping the structure of Oberlin's gift clubs. Beginning with the 1996-97 fiscal year outright gifts of any type, including gifts to the endowment, will be recognized by membership in the various clubs. In the past, only current-use donations to the annual fund were so recognized.

"Alumni who make gifts to the endowment are no less philanthropic than those who support current needs," notes Mead. "It's time to look at the big and wonderful picture of how Oberlin alumni steward their alma mater because that picture is really something special." Besides making gift-club recognition inclusive of all gift types, new clubs have been added at incremental levels and entry levels for some clubs have been raised. The John Frederick Oberlin Society (JFO), founded by alumni in 1973-74, was established to recognize those who made gifts of $1000 or more. While key financial indicators have increased since then, JFO has not kept pace. Had the entry-level gift increased with inflation, it would today be $3450.

"That is too much to ask of our JFO members," says Mead. Beginning in 199697, the minimum gift for JFO recognition will be $1833 (Oberlin was founded in 1833).

"Although the JFO entry level has changed, the importance of continuing to recognize the many alumni and friends who give $1000 every year cannot be overstated," stresses Mead.

One of the new gift clubs recognizes those giving $1000 to $1832. Multiyear pledges made before June 30, 1996, at the old JFO level will continue to receive JFO recognition until the pledge is fulfilled.

Further information about the restructured gift clubs was mailed in late-August, along with the Oberlin Fund brochure.