Smith College gifts $500K to Northampton



Staff Writer 
Published: 12/7/2021 8:19:23 PM
Modified: 12/7/2021 8:18:56 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College announced on Tuesday that it will donate $500,000 to the city of Northampton for use at the mayor’s discretion.

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney announced the donation, which will be distributed over three years, at the college’s annual community breakfast, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Smith would not be Smith without Northampton,” McCartney said. “These contributions are investments in our shared interest — a thriving city whose vibrancy brings pride to all those who live and work here.”

In 2016, the college made a similar three-year, unrestricted donation to the city, totaling $300,000. Earlier this year, it committed $200,000 to the city’s planned Community Resilience Hub and $29,000 to the Community Revitalization Fund.

These and other donations to the city and priority projects over the past five years, such as the ValleyBike Share system and the Safe Passage Capital Campaign, total more than $1 million.

“I am grateful to President McCartney and Smith College for making another multi-year commitment of funding to the City of Northampton,” Mayor David Narkewicz said in a statement. He will leave office when Mayor-Elect Gina-Louise Sciarra, a Smith alumnus, takes over the job in less than a month.

“These generous community gifts have allowed our city to support important capital priorities,” Narkewicz said, “and I am confident that Mayor-Elect Sciarra and her administration will put this funding to good use over the next three years.”

Sciarra said she had not expected the donation, and the news on Tuesday morning was “a wonderful surprise.”

“This gift is a lovely way to start off this term,” she said. “As a Smithie, I deeply feel how interconnected the relationship is between Smith and the city. … I look forward to working with President McCartney and to continuing the partnership and shared commitment to our entire community.”

Sciarra said she will “need to have some conversations” about the best use of the money before committing to any spending.

Brian Steele can be reached at 
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