Despite ongoing changes to campus life, staff and students are finding ways to maintain the services that keep Calvin’s community afloat—and that includes the Community Care Fund (CCF).
Since it was set up in 1990, the CCF has drawn donations from students, staff, faculty and alumni to meet students’ emergency needs. This can include helping with medical or dental costs, covering travel expenses in the case of a funeral, and more. It’s an opportunity for members of the community to “flex their generosity muscles,” as University Pastor Mary Hulst often says. Before coronavirus-related gathering restrictions were implemented on Calvin’s campus, the CCF was received as an offering at LOFT. This year, however, Campus Ministries is unable to host LOFT and receive these donations each Sunday evening.
When asked if the change has impacted the amount of donations coming in, director of Calvin’s Annual Giving Fund Melanie Lyons says it’s too soon to tell. “It will be interesting to see how, if at all, the CCF is impacted by the challenges and limits of COVID-19,” Lyons wrote in an email. Over the summer, the chaplain’s office and the Director of Alumni worked with Lyons on a strategy to market the fund given the new year’s unique challenges.
Instead of being received as an offering during LOFT, the fund is advertised on a slide during weekday virtual chapels and in student news. The Development Office also continues to direct alumni to the fund when they ask how to best support students in need.
So far this year, the fund has brought in around $550 through Venmo alone, which Hulst considers a good amount (this doesn’t include donations that come through the Advancement’s Office web page). During the 2019-2020 academic year, the fund brought in a total of $19,300. In the previous year, over $17,000 was given. It’s still uncertain whether coronavirus limits will prevent the fund from collecting a similar amount this year.
According to Jane Prins, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, there haven’t been any
community care requests related to COVID-19 this year. Calvin has been handling those situations through testing and follow-up care. And while there’s no indication that the pandemic has significantly affected the fund, Hulst emphasized that “we always have needs, and faithful giving makes a huge difference.”
Donations can be given to “CalvinLOFT” on Venmo or directly through the Advancement Office. Students can also drop off cash contributions at the Campus Ministries office in the Commons Annex.