On Giving: Stewardship In Action

As the summer heat of Georgia softens into cooler October mornings, and we get through midterm exams, we find ourselves entering the season of giving. Each year, the Middle Georgia State University Foundation awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving students, made possible by generous contributions from alumni, faculty and staff, businesses, foundations and friends of the university.

Last week, with volunteer kick-off events in Cochran and Macon, we launched the 2016 MGA Faculty & Staff Campaign. This year’s theme is Giving to Greatness and we have set an ambitious goal: raising $85,000 to improve the lives of our students by exceeding last year’s participation of more than 400 faculty and staff, which was a 10% increase over the previous year.

On Friday, at our annual President’s Gala and Silent Auction, we will gather with many long-time supporters of Middle Georgia State and welcome new ones. Among the long-time supporters are this year’s recipient of the Legacy of Leadership Award, Mansfield Jennings—one of a handful of “greats” whose vision was a unified Middle Georgia State serving the public—as well as our Outstanding Alumna of the Year Sheila Ogletree.

Alumni and community leaders are vital to our efforts to help students, but our faculty and staff are best positioned to understand why our students’ success is a worthwhile investment. When we—who are closest to the work our students engage in each day—contribute to the campaign, it sends a clear signal to anyone considering a donation that we believe in our students and ourselves.

Last year alone, we awarded more than $352,000 to 325 students—more scholarships, in number and dollar amounts, than at any time in our history. The lives of each of these students, their families, and our communities are directly impacted by the big-heartedness of individuals and organizations willing to invest in our future.

Giving speaks directly to one of our core values. Stewardship is defined as the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. Managing our lives, individually and collectively, means making careful and responsible decisions about where to spend our time, treasure, and talents.

This year’s employee campaign is an essential part of the multi-million dollar, three-year comprehensive capital campaign included in our University Strategic Plan. I encourage all of us to participate, no matter the size of our donation. As Aesop put it, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”