Giving is at the heart of Berea College’s legacy. Our founders were unwavering in their efforts to provide an education for whites and blacks of limited means in the mid-1800s. With each passing year since then, we are amazed by the generosity of our alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students. That generosity is on display in myriad ways, from the “surprise” check for $1.3 million that comes in the mail to the $5 that a freshman contributes to the Berea Fund with each Labor Program paycheck. Both gifts help us ensure we can continue to pay tuition for every student enrolled at Berea College and fund other important projects and initiatives.
Our Berea Patrons giving circle is an important alumni relations initiative that demonstrates students’ embrace of the culture of giving here at Berea. For the first time in our history, nearly 60 percent of the College’s students gave back to the school through payroll deductions during the 2016-17 school year. Such a high participation rate bodes well for the future of giving.
Our annual Giving Day also points to a bright future for our development efforts. Created in 2016, the initiative aims to raise a target amount in just one day. Our goal the first year was $25,000. To our surprise, our supporters helped us shatter that goal, giving more than $196,000 in a 24-hour period via our digital platforms and through a phone bank. We increased our goal to $200k in a Day for the 2017 Giving Day on August 31. Gifts poured in by text message, through our website, in person at giving stations on campus, and by phone to the tune of more than $208,000. More commitments came in during the weeks following Giving Day, pushing the final total to $231,575. Nearly 120 students joined the Berea Patrons on Giving Day. All told, the gifts we received will allow us to pay four years of tuition for 92 students.
It was truly gratifying to see such support of Berea and its mission from the campus community and from around the world on Giving Day 2017.
And, of course, we cannot overlook the incredible impact the Campaign for the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building had on our work this year. Challenged by our lead donor to raise $10 million by December 2018, we began the campaign in earnest around April 2015 with what we thought was a lofty aspiration to raise at least half of the funds by April 2016. Our alumni and friends amazed us. With their help, we actually raised more than $10 million by April 2016. We will conclude the campaign a year ahead of schedule, with gifts exceeding $12 million.
What inspires a person to give to Berea College? The values upon which Berea was founded resonate with those who believe in the dignity of work, the promise of interracial education, the pride in simple living, the value of educating men and women together, and the unique qualities that make Berea such a special place. For others, it is the College’s steadfast commitment to the Appalachian region—the people, culture, and heritage. The same things that attract alumni and friends to give to Berea inspire them to continue their generosity year after year. In the pages that follow, you will learn what motivates 14 of our donors to support Berea College. Their stories are just a few of the thousands of stories we hear every day from supporters all over the world.
We are proud to share their stories with you, and hope you are inspired to join our growing family of supporters.
Bernadine Douglas, CFRE
Vice President for Alumni and College Relations