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Carly Binder Basile ’16

Carly Binder Basile ’16

After three weeks on campus, Carly Binder Basile ’16 declared a gender studies major and embraced “all things student life.” She joined student government and residential life and, in partnership with Courtney Brunson ’16, cocreated MoZone, the social justice peer education program now celebrating its tenth anniversary.

“Leaving a legacy that impacts students means everything to me,” said Carly, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2023.

As a high school junior, Carly moved from Los Angeles to Kentucky, where her father was overseeing a business merger. At the time, it “felt like the end of the world,” but an English teacher at her new high school became the shining light.

“I was a baby feminist, and she inspired me. She’d attended Smith, so I planned to go there. Then I visited Mount Holyoke and found my community.”

Today, Carly’s closest friendships were forged as a first-year student. One of her mentors continues to be Marcella Runell, vice president for Student Life and Dean of Students. Mount Holyoke is also where she met her wife, Kirby Basile ’16, when both worked in Residential Life. The couple’s wedding was officiated by Rachel Aldiss, assistant vice president of Student Engagement and executive director of Residential Life.

“Mount Holyoke raised me. It’s where I figured out how I wanted to engage the world. Kirby and I regard it as such a special place. The College really shaped us into the human beings we are today.”

After graduation, Carly earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of Vermont. She worked at Middlebury College before returning to L.A. as director of development for Principal and Planned Gifts at Mount St. Mary’s University. Last year, she was named director of development for Experience Camps, the nation’s largest nonprofit addressing childhood grief. Having lost her father at a young age, the mission resonates on the deepest level.

“Through my work, I’ve learned how crucial it is to communicate our intentions to those we love. That, of course, requires acknowledging our mortality. But addressing the reality often leads to the realization that we do have the capacity to leave a legacy.”

In addition to their annual giving, she and Kirby have named Mount Holyoke as one of the beneficiaries of their employer-provided life insurance policies. “As much as we’d love to write a big check, at this time in our lives, we can’t. But designating even a small percentage of an insurance policy or retirement or savings account means we can make an impact in big ways. And it’s so simple to do.”

Although she never anticipated a career in fundraising, Carly believes it was meant to be. “At the end of the day, what I do is talk to people about what inspires them and how they can shape the world. That, in a nutshell, is what Mount Holyoke did for me.”

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