PITTSFIELD — Maine Central Institute recently announced a new record total for the Founders Campaign. In August 2016, MCI launched a $6.5 million capital campaign as part of the celebration of its Sesquicentennial. According to Headmaster Christopher J. Hopkins, 194 donors have contributed $5,242,153 to date. A generous $500,000 challenge gift, offered by friends of the School, Tom and Anne Koester of New Jersey, was matched by $500,000 in contributions received through May 4. The Founders Campaign total of $5.2 million is the largest amount contributed in MCI’s history. This is the first comprehensive campaign in the school’s 151-year history. The Founders Campaign total includes the first $1-million-dollar pledge in the school’s history, made by an anonymous donor.

“Tom and Anne’s generosity inspired alumni and friends to support the Founders Campaign,” said Hopkins, according to the release. “We are deeply grateful for their commitment to MCI’s future and the students we serve. Now that the Koester Family Challenge is met, we are focused on reaching and exceeding the $6.5 million goal by Reunion Weekend, Aug. 4, 2017. With the continued support of alumni and friends, we believe the goal is within reach,” added Hopkins.

A $100,000 gift to complete the Koester Family Challenge was made by Ryan Fendler, a member of the class of 1945. “I went to MCI, and each of my wife Barbara’s and my five kids all went to MCI,” Fendler said, according to the release. “This school was a cornerstone to an exceptional educational experience and the cornerstone to the community we all enjoyed. It provided each of us a greater opportunity for success in life. It is only right to give back now, to help assure MCI is able to continue to provide an even better experience for generations to come.”

Norbert W. Young Jr., president of the Board of Trustees and MCI Class of 1966 said, “The MCI Board of Trustees join me in extending our sincere thanks to the Koesters, to Ryan Fendler, and to all donors who have contributed over $5.2 million to the Campaign. Their confidence and generous support mean the world to MCI, and serves as an inspiration to alumni and friends of the School to join us in supporting this historic Campaign. Each gift, in any amount, received between now and August 4th sets a new record for MCI, and brings us one step closer to $6.5 million,” said Young, according to the release.

Funds raised through the campaign will strengthen MCI’s academics, arts and athletics programming and increase the school’s endowment. Planned upgrades include repurposing JR Cianchette Hall, to create a Visual and Performing Arts Education Center, to consolidate music, art, drama and the Bossov Ballet Theatre under one roof.

Improvements to Founders Hall, MCI’s original campus building, also will be completed. Final renovations involve creating a new corridor running from North to South, new restrooms, and accessibility upgrades including the addition of an elevator, refreshing architecturally significant details such as the building’s antique tin ceiling tile, floors and stairwells, and a complete first floor renovation which will house the School’s Head of School, Academic and Business offices. The school has allocated $3.4 million in campaign funds toward the upgrades, according to the release.

In addition, $2 million will be invested in the school’s endowment, increasing it to $6.5 million. “This investment will put MCI on stronger financial footing, safeguard the School’s future, and enable it to be more competitive when recruiting teaching staff and students,” Hopkins added, according to the release.

Enhancements to MCI’s athletic fields were funded out of the Founders Campaign and completed earlier this year. This $700,000 investment created three new multipurpose fields and renovated existing fields, making it possible for all outdoor field sports teams to practice and play on campus for the first time in the school’s history.

To support the Founders Campaign, visit www.mci-school.org, or send a check payable to the Founders Campaign to MCI Office of Institutional Advancement, 295 Main St., Pittsfield, ME 04967-4502.

For more information on naming opportunities, call 487-5915 or email [email protected].