Community care fund encourages students to give online

Photo courtesy calvin.edu.
Photo courtesy calvin.edu.

As many regular LOFT attenders know, the Community Care Fund (CCF) gives students an opportunity to, as Pastor Mary often says, “flex your generosity muscles.”

The offering collected at LOFT aids students who have unexpected financial needs. Now the CCF has a new online giving page to make giving easier for students.

Students who do not go to LOFT regularly may not know about the fund and few students actually have cash with them when they attend LOFT. Fortunately, the new giving page can be accessed easily from Calvin’s website. The four-step giving process requires just a debit or credit card and takes only a few minutes.

Amanda Greenhoe, coordinator of development communications and marketing, explains:

“Giving to the CCF was always a function of the main giving page. But we didn’t think this was student focused. It’s good for students to know that their money is going directly to other students.”

Money is never taken from tuition payments. The funds donated to CCF only go to approved student recipients.

According to a story from communications and marketing in 2010, the idea for this fund was born in 1990 when legally blind sophomore Marcia was crossing the beltline when her dog, Sebastian, was hit by a car. Sebastian was severely injured and Visser couldn’t cover the expenses. Dale Cooper, former college chaplain, asked the Calvin community to pitch in. The resulting surgery saved Sebastian’s life.

This story inspired Calvin’s faculty to make communal giving a standard aspect of Calvin’s community. Since then, the CCF has enabled students to travel home to be with their families during a crisis, paid for emergency medical procedures and a host of other needs.

Vice President of Student Life Shirley Hoogstra approves the requests for aid, often made by teachers or faculty on a student’s behalf.

The CCF strengthens Calvin’s student community on many levels. Manager of annual fund special programs, Eric Kamstra, says “it invests students in giving.” He adds that the CCF is a way for “Students to stand behind fellow students.” Part of being a community is taking care of each other; CCF allows Calvin college as a whole to support students in crisis.

Kamstra hopes that the online CCF page will make it easier for students to give. He explains:

“In the past when we’ve interviewed students [for on-campus jobs] and asked why they haven’t given we usually hear 1) I’ve never been asked, 2) I don’t know where to give, and 3) I don’t have enough money. I think it speaks a lot of the student body that ‘I don’t have enough to give’ is last on the list.”

It seems to Kamstra that students have a desire to give. Hopefully the CCF fund will make it more convenient to do that.
Giving is an integral part of Christian Community; the CCF gives students a place to tithe away from their home churches.

“College is such a big time of transition and so many students church hop,” says Greenhoe. “The Community Care Fund is a place where students can tithe regularly.”

The new CCF giving page should strengthen an already thriving program and encourage students to support their fellow students in times of crisis and develop healthy habits of generous giving.

About the Author

Julia LaPlaca

Julia LaPlaca is a Chimes writer for the 2013-14 school year. She is a junior at Calvin majoring in literature and art history.

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