• 54°

A gift that keeps giving

I remember when I first heard about the Carpenter Foundation’s endowment contribution to Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC), I thought it was an odd way of administering a grant.

As H-SC has explained in press releases, the Carpenter Foundation’s grant is being paid in four annual $1 million installments that are contingent on Hampden-Sydney raising $4 million in cash for each $1 million portion of the Carpenter funds.

It’s an interesting contribution that seems to say, “We’ll give you this handsome gift if you work for it.”

I didn’t have any big judgement in my head about it. I just thought it was interesting and moved on. But my perspective on it changed significantly this summer.

On Aug. 8, H-SC announced that it had received a $1 million gift from an anonymous alumnus.

The college had been busily working to raise the $4 million needed to access the first $1 million installment from the Carpenter Foundation. Imagine the college’s fundraising in this instance as being like a relay race — the gift from the anonymous alumnus was the anchor leg that brought the race across the finish line.

“By itself, this gift is tremendous,” H-SC President Dr. Larry Stimpert said, “but by unlocking an additional $1 million for the college from the Carpenter Foundation, its impact is truly sweeping. Reaching this important milestone has been made possible by many gifts of all sizes provided by many devoted alumni and friends. We are grateful to this alumnus for his faith in our mission and support for our current and future students.”

I realized at this point that through its matching endowment contribution, the Carpenter Foundation has given a gift to Hampden-Sydney worth far more than $4 million. It is a grant that is helping motivate others to give so they can contribute to the exciting process of unlocking a $1 million installment. In a way, it makes others’ contributions — whether big or small — seem like they are worth more than their simple dollar amount. After all, they could be $100… plus $1 million.

And by asking H-SC to raise funds in order to access the Carpenter grant, the foundation has also set up a golden opportunity for the college to continue affirming its status as a worthy investment. This affirmation comes through the school’s ability to draw the support of many other enthusiastic donors.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.