Participation Matters

“Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play today.”

In this season, many Hope LAX, SB, BB, Golf, XTC&F and 10S athletes (you know who you are by your Twitter handles) echo John Fogerty’s refrain. Wanting to play, striving to win is their mission. And don’t we all want to participate in life in some way to affect outcomes?!

Participation matters in sports, academics and co-curricular activities at Hope College. It also matters in giving to your alma mater. Numerous buildings and projects on campus are named for distinguished Hope graduates who provided a special or penultimate gift to capstone a distinctive career and lifetime of giving. The impact of such philanthropy is obvious, but Hope is built no less on gifts at a variety of levels by thousands of alumni, parents and friends. Many of the college’s major donors presented three-figure ($100+) annual gifts thirty years ago. By today’s standards, that equates to a good cup of coffee a couple times a week. While that may sound a tad hyperbolic, what is not is that their giving began and was sustained by establishing a habit. Just like that cup of coffee.

Hope requires a broad spectrum of donors to remain competitive and to keep the Hope experience accessible and affordable. Tuition and fees alone do not support the kind of Hope experience we strive to provide. Your philanthropic participation begins a journey toward a lifetime of joyful giving, bolsters our reputation scrutinized by external reviewers such as Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report, and fortifies the value of your hard-earned degree. Your gift also leverages other gifts and grants. Many national foundations examine participation rates in advance of affirming a grant. Participation from many stakeholders is considered, including Board of Trustees (100% expected), Alumni Board, Administrative Council, Deans, faculty and alumni.

It is easy to deflect. Many constituents suggest that we seek major funding from recognized philanthropists in our region with names that include De__  or Van_____. Some also suggest the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or Warren Buffett, even though their funding priorities are narrowly defined and their beneficiaries are often pre-selected.

Younger alumni cite their debt loads following graduation. I’m keenly aware, since my debt was equivalent to a very handsome new car. I’m also reminded that my financial aid package in the form of scholarships and Hope grants was also equivalent to a few nice cars, and made possible by donors I didn’t know or meet.

I’ve heard the chorus many times: “When I win the lottery or inherit a fortune, I’ll give a major gift to Hope.” Steady-and-regular wins the race if we participate together. Your gifts, combined with others, transform Hope and expand opportunities for students to learn, discern, serve and make a difference in communities and our world.

The transformational education that Hope has provided for more than 150 years has been possible only because of generous support. Through those many decades, Hope has been a good steward of resources entrusted by parents, friends, corporations, organizations and alumni. Hope is worthy of your investment.

Are you ready to participate?

Visit dayofgiving.hope.edu to learn how your gift, no matter the size, makes an impact. #Give2Hope

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