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News & Stories: 2008-09

Calvin receives four-stars March 30, 2009

Charity Navigator, named one of “the 50 coolest Web sites” by Time  magazine, is America’s largest independent evaluator of charities. The Web site evaluates the efficacy and responsiveness of charitable organizations by analyzing raw financial data pertaining to the non-profit’s fundraising, programming and administration.

Charity Navigator logoCalvin College recently received Charity Navigator’s top rating, four stars.

"Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that an organization excels, as compared to other charities in America, in successfully managing the finances of your organization in an efficient and effective manner, says Kaitlin Woolf, a program analyst at Charity Navigator. “[Calvin’s] rating is an exceptional feat, especially given the economic challenges many charities have had to face in the last year.”

Doing More with Less

Calvin garnered this top rating in large part due to its lean administrative and fund-raising operations. At Calvin, only 1.9 percent of the total operating budget is spent on administrative expenses, and Calvin spends a mere eight cents to raise one dollar in charitable contributions. In comparison, some of Calvin's peer institutions spend as much as 10 percent of their operating budget on administrative expenses and as much as 25 cents for each dollar raised. (To compare non-profit organizations, including colleges and universities, visit Charity Navigator).

"Calvin has very lean and efficient faculty and staff configurations. Our faculty and staff are well qualified, and they work hard and effectively, and our staff-to-faculty ratio is very low compared to other colleges and universities,” says Calvin College president Gaylen Byker. “These features combine to give the college low administrative costs and low fund-raising overhead.”

Educating the Giver

Many causes seem worthy of philanthropic support. But which organizations are most effective at translating financial gifts into action? Which non-profits are the best stewards of your financial resources? Charity Navigator’s mission is to help prospective philanthropists make informed decisions about their charitable gifts.

Last year more than 12,000 donors gave to the Calvin Annual Fund, a vital source of year-to-year support for the college’s operating budget. Thanks to additional sources of revenue, like the Calvin Annual Fund, each student's tuition is on average 25 percent less than the actual cost of a Calvin education.

"We are very grateful for these gifts," says Jan Druyvesteyn, Calvin's director of development. "Donors can feel confident about their decision to support Calvin because as a college we strive to be good stewards of all our resources. Most importantly, each gift to the college directly strengthens our ability to serve our students."

~by Ashleigh Draft, communications and marketing

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