CONTACT: David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
PHC Trustee George Clay
A matching gift campaign initiated by one of the College’s longtime trustees was a tremendous success, according to PHC’s Office of Advancement. Even with a short, 25-day window in which to promote the two-for-one matching campaign, results far exceeded the $25,000 goal set by the Alumni Association and the campaign's sponsor, PHC Trustee George Clay.
More than $65,000 was given by alumni and their immediate families in the month of June, making it the largest giving campaign hosted by the Alumni Association in school history. Individual alumni donors accounted for nearly $10,000, with an average gift of $290. When combined with Mr. Clay's matching contributions, this campaign raised a total of over $115,000 for the College's General Scholarship Fund.
“The alumni will be leading this College one day,” said Mr. Clay of his matching gift idea. “All of our donors, including the Board of Trustees, bring a measure of wisdom, work and their own personal wealth to the table in the form of giving. Giving is a very tangible way for alumni to show their support and commitment to the College.
“I simply wanted to jump start that giving process a little,” he added, “and hopefully help to begin in some – and continue in others – the habit of stewarding their hard earned wages toward the College that helped them launch their lives and careers. As you know, sometimes we all need a little jump start.”
Of the total funds raised, $5,000 will go directly to the Alumni Association, helping the association serve the alumni community and the student body through programs like the College’s annual scholarship essay competition. Members of the PHC Alumni Association Finance Committee, including Aaron Strassner, Matt Boehm, Daniel Hebda, and Zachary Enos, invested many hours networking with and mobilizing PHC alumni to answer the matching gift challenge.
“Along with the other members of the Finance Committee, I believe very strongly in the purpose of mission of PHC,” said Strassner, who worked the phones and wrote dozens of notes and letters, pumping up enthusiasm among alumni. “As an alumnus, one of best ways I can give back to the school is through donations. PHC is a relatively new organization and needs the help of alumni to go forward. When George Clay said he was interested in doing a matching campaign, it was a no brainer.
“My experience contacting our alumni,” added Strassner, who today works in the oil business in Houston, “was that there are a lot of us out there who are very interested in supporting the College. We just needed the right cause to get behind. Having a supporter like George come forward – who so many of us know and admire – really gave alumni a way, not to just give to school, but to see their money doubled. Everyone I spoke with wants PHC to be successful, and most are very thankful for the great education they received and for the opportunities their education has afforded them. Still, I was frankly a bit surprised at how many were genuinely thrilled by an opportunity to give back to the school.”
The campaign kicked off with a June 5 email from the PHC Alumni Association to alumni. Jonathan Carden, PHC’s Director of Major Gifts and a former PHC student body president, noted how “Sometimes the best ideas come at the last minute. It was very encouraging for us, since it was the first of its kind and since the campaign lasted only 25 days. To get almost $65,000 directly from alumni and their families was an enormous blessing and a wonderful boost for the College.”