The LA Alumni and Development Office wrapped up the 2020 Alumni Community Challenge just as Maine schools braced to close amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

In early March Lincoln Academy raised critical funds for the school’s Annual Fund through the Sixth Annual Alumni Community Challenge (ACC). This social media fundraising challenge uses friendly competition to inspire LA alumni to donate to their alma mater, and has grown from a simple gift of $1801 from the class of 1991 six years ago to a major contributor to the school’s annual fundraising.

This year the LA Alumni and Development Office included three new constituencies in the Challenge: current parents, local businesses, and LA staff. The addition of these donors inspired the name change from “Alumni Class Challenge” to “Alumni Community Challenge.”

“The world was a different place just four weeks ago when we undertook this effort,” said LA’s Director of Development, Laurie Hurd. “On March 1 we had no idea how this community would be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as we rise to the challenge of the current crisis we are learning more and more how interconnected we are. We continue to be moved by the support the community shows for LA, and, in coming weeks, LA will continue to give back to the community through food distribution and student support.”

The ACC was founded in 2015 by Dennis Prior of the LA Class of 1991 as a way to use social media to raise funds from his classmates to support LA. The next year he challenged fellow alum Juliet Kelsey-Holmes to a friendly competition between the Class of 1992 and Kelsey-Holmes’s class of 1992, and the ACC was born. “Each year we added more classes and raised more money,” said Prior. “With the inclusion of businesses, parents, and staff, we reached a new bar this year.”

The ACC takes place every year between March 1 and March 5, and most, though not all, donations come in through the schools online giving portal. Class agents use social media to challenge other classes, parents, and staff to make donations. This year two challenges and seven match donations offered even more incentive to give.

“An anonymous donor offered a $5000 challenge donation if 50 current parents made gifts,” said Hurd. “This seemed like a pretty big jump from last year’s total of 6 parents, but we far exceeded the goal! In the end 62 current families made donations, and we were able to add that $5000 to our total.”

Local businesses were an important factor in the 2020 ACC success as well. Camden National Bank, Colby & Gale, Damariscotta Bank and Trust, King Eider’s Pub and Stove Cove Catering, Masters Machine Co., LA Boosters and Alumni Council, Lincoln County News, Medomak Construction, Mid-Coast Energy Systems, Precedent Designworks, Renys, Transworld Business Advisors, and The First National Bank and Trust generously supported the campaign and a dozen other businesses, many of whom are also owned by and/or employ LA graduates, made gifts as part of the ACC.

“This is my first year and first Alumni Community Challenge with Lincoln Academy, and I am overwhelmed by the support for this institution.” said Hurd. “It’s inspiring to see all of the different ways generations of families continue to connect with each other through our school and region.”