Yogurt mogul, alum gifts $1M to Hampshire College


Staff Writer

Published: 01-20-2023 9:22 PM

AMHERST — A $1 million donation from the co-founder of Stonyfield Organic is pushing the Hampshire College capital campaign to nearly two-thirds of the $60 million goal set for June 2024.

The college recently announced that alumnus Gary Hirshberg and his wife, Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, made the contribution to the Change in the Making: A Campaign for Hampshire. That campaign began in January 2019, in part, to support the college’s financial sustainability at a time when Hampshire was still at risk of closing and saw a steep enrollment decline. The campaign is now at almost $39 million.

College President Ed Wingenbach offered thanks for the couple’s generosity and commitment to the college and for supporting the transformation to an adaptive, unbounded curriculum, being reinvented to give students more opportunity to make an impact on the world.

“We’re reinventing college for today’s students, who in the face of global challenges are more focused than ever on how to make an impact from the moment they leave high school,” Wingenbach said. “This vote of confidence from some of the most innovative and forward-thinking American entrepreneurs is extremely meaningful.”

Hirshberg co-founded Stonyfield, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and also chairs two organic advocacy and education nongovernment organizations and the Hirshberg Entrepreneurship Institute.

The latest gift follows two $5 million donations, including one last year from an anonymous philanthropist in honor of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who co-chairs the campaign. The gift from the Hirshbergs, the seventh at $1 million or more, will be matched as part of the Jim and Paula Crown Founders Challenge.

When Gary Hirshberg arrived at Hampshire in 1972, he said in a statement that he got the tools and confidence to overcome challenges in building his mission-driven business.

“And today, Hampshire offers a distinctly important, pragmatic and inspiring example of how to help young adults invent new, entrepreneurial solutions to our most pressing social and environmental challenges,” Hirshberg said.

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“Gary is an incredible example of what Hampshire instills in its graduates: he has an entrepreneurial mindset coupled with a drive to transform industries, institutions and our world,” Burns said in a statement.