Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2 Weeks Left to Choose!

 Image courtesy of: midwestsocialite.blogspot.com

I went to a boarding high school and I'm pretty sure I'm one of the most heart-on-my-dorky-sleeve head-over-heels-in-love alumnae there ever was. It was a natural fit, and I have adored the institution and the community from the moment I stepped onto campus. Even after getting a good look at the man behind the curtain as a member of the development staff until just last winter, my crush remains intact.

College was, inexplicably, much different. I felt miles away from my seemingly self-assured and sophisticated classmates who appeared to be living the College Dream. I struggled to find my place, feel confident academically, curb my bagel consumption, and stay awake through long passages in Red Star Over China. Although I learned a lot and grew up a great deal, those were not my happiest days, to say the least.

15 and 10 years later, respectively, I make sure I send an annual gift to each institution.

Giving to the my high school strengthens the good memories and reconnects me to its mission. I love providing today's teenage artist-scholars some version of the not-your-father's-prep-school world in which I thrived.

Giving to my college has, conversely, smoothed many a rough spot in my personal archive. As a donor, I feel pride in this impressive institution, instead of nagging regret about skimmed texts and half-hearted essays. I forget outdated grudges against former roommates and, instead, crack a smile, remembering late-night Karaoke parties and hours spent poring over the pages of our actual facebook (in the days before that word was a proper noun).

Whatever one's personal experiences, there are many reasons to give to one's school:

~ Alumni participation (i.e. the fact that you gave, not the size of your gift) improves a school's strength and ranking, boosting the integrity of one's diploma.
~ The number of alumni who donors improves a school's chances of winning grant funding to assure its healthy future.
~ If you received financial aid, we can stop the conversation right here, but...
~ Since tuition alone doesn't meet the school's costs, even if your parents paid for the whole thing themselves, your education was still subsidized by those who went before you.
~ It matters to someone else, someone young, to have a community in which to be confused and creative and challenged and courageous and carried along by the generosity of those who went before her.

We might think our generosity too "barely detectable" to have an impact at a school we loved. Or, we might think, "Meh, that place didn't float my boat. I'll just recycle this appeal letter." But, if you're anything like me, when you give back to institutions that helped make you who you are, the life (or, at least the perspective) you change just might be your own.

Your school's fiscal year probably ends June 30, 2010. Two Weeks Left to Choose Generosity!


  1. You are so awesome, Court. These institutions are lucky to have an alumna like you, not to mention the other organizations you're involved with and work for! May everyone give as generously as you do!

  2. You are amazing, CG. Well said and well done! The most generous spirit I know...