Growing in Generosity

Generosity and giving are anything but boring for Hope Forward students.

Some hyperextended elbows, performed 32 fouettés (famous Swan Lake ballet move), did cartwheels, solved a Rubix cube puzzle while on a balance board, impersonated zombie sounds from Minecraft and shared many other unique talents all in the name of generosity.

Hope Forward program juniors organized the talent show as a motivator to gather all the Hope Forward students on Day of Giving — Hope College’s biggest giving event of the year — and encourage each of them to give to what they love on campus.

And, it worked! Almost three-quarters of Hope Forward students made a donation on Day of Giving compared to 27% of the cohort who gave at the same time last year. In comparison, 2% of students who are not part of the Hope Forward program made a gift on Day of Giving.

What excites Hope Forward Program Director Nicole Dunteman most is that students are growing in their understanding of generosity, a pillar of the Hope Forward program. She’s thrilled to see them take personal steps to be generous in many areas of their lives, which includes much more than financial giving, she said. Seeing the juniors step up and take leadership also has been heartwarming, she added.

Many students who made gifts on Day of Giving said they are eager to start giving now instead of waiting until they get a job when they graduate.

“I gave because giving is a muscle and we need to strengthen those muscles for when we graduate,” said Katie, a freshman nursing student. “When we graduate, we will be giving back so it’s important to give now.”

All Hope Forward students sign a covenant with Hope College establishing a life-long relationship with the campus community and making a commitment to give to Hope yearly after graduation at any amount they choose. Already, students are taking this responsibility seriously.

“Hope Forward is a great idea. It’s giving hope to students by paying for their full tuition,” said Yessica. “I’m giving to Hope College so other people can have the same opportunity as we’re having.”

The elementary education major from Honduras said she wished she could give to all the departments at Hope because of the deep impact they’ve had on her.

“I’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges, like culture shock and talking in English all the time,” Yessica explained. “All the departments at Hope have been so supportive. I would never have had this opportunity in Honduras.”

Student organizers made a friendly competition out giving by dividing the Hope Forward cohort into six geographical regions to see who would be the most generous. Out of the six groups made up of students from the Eastern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, Southern U.S., Northeastern U.S., Western U.S. and the Midwest, those from the Northeast won with 87% of the students making a donation.

“I don’t have a lot to give, but knowing someone matched every student’s gift really motivated me. I knew my small gift would turn into much more,” Katie said.

On Day of Giving, the Matick family committed to matching every student gift, not just those in the Hope Forward program, with an additional $80 gift to the Hope Fund.

“Giving something small can have a lot of meaning,”
said Monty, a junior. “Even $1 can be powerful if that’s what each of us gives. It shows we believe in what we are a part of.”

Monty, a social work and psychology double major, said that she would have been forced to choose a different career path if she had student loans to repay because social workers earn a lower wage than many other careers. She can follow her passion because of Hope Forward’s gifted tuition. She wants future students to be able to follow their passions, too, without being held back by debt.

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1 Comment

  1. Kudos to the HF students for participating in the Day of Giving! There’s a swell of excitement here at Hope knowing we have a generation of Hope Forward students who are learning about and pursuing a life of generosity. These gifts will have a ripple-effect across this campus and beyond.

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