Campus News

Bethel raises more than a million dollars

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A fundraising effort called the Miracle Month at Bethel has generated more than a million dollars for the school, and much of the money will be used to help students pay for their education. The campaign actually began in November and continued through December. Bethel's Vice President for Institutional Advancement Terry Zeitlow said in November that a group of generous individuals had stepped forward and offered a $500,000 matching grant. That meant whatever amount Bethel raised on its own would be matched dollar for dollar up to $500,000. On Wednesday, Jan. 15 Zeitlow released the final figures through an email announcement. He said, “a total of 563,492 was contributed providing a 1,063,492 total once the match is applied.” Bethel raised the $500,000 maximum for the matching grant, but also raised an additional $63,492. “I think it was a stretch goal,” said Zeitlow. “Normally, in December we might show gifts that are somewhere between a quarter of a million and three hundred thousand dollars, but at the same time, historically, it seems like Bethel people have responded very generously to challenges like this, and there hasn’t been one in several years. So, I was hopeful, but at the same time, it took a lot of work, by a lot of people that helped make it happen.” Bethel College received over one thousand gifts, ranging from $5 to $50,000, during the month of December. “I think one of the things that something like this shows is, everybody’s gift counts,” said Zeitlow. “There are no gifts that are too small.” Zeitlow shared that many of the gifts received were given online, and that a number of those online gifts came from young alumni who, according to Zeitlow, “graduated in the past five years or so.” “A lot of people have a heart for college students, and have a heart for Bethel College students,” said Zeitlow. “And so, they just responded in a very generous fashion.” The Miracle Month campaign was part of an effort to implement the vision Dr. Chenoweth shared during his inauguration ceremony a few months ago: to make Bethel “G.R.E.A.T.” “We wanted to try and be in a position in January where we could begin to focus on Dr. Chenoweth’s agenda for moving our institution forward,” said Zeitlow. “We’re at that place where we can begin to do a little dreaming, and see what the next few years might have in store for Bethel.” A large portion of the money raised in the campaign has been devoted to the Bethel Grant fund, which provides students with scholarships and grants. However, despite the campaign’s success, Zeitlow said there are no plans at this time for an annual “Miracle Month” campaign. “What this did for us is it really kickstarted us,” said Zeitlow. “It got us to a place where we can really help students and can really dream, as a college, of where we can go.” Zeitlow said that the college hopes to begin a “comprehensive campaign” to focus on various needs across the campus. While future matching challenges have not been ruled out, they would be focused on specific needs or projects within the campaign. Students also contributed to the “Miracle Month” campaign by making phone calls to potential donors, alerting them to a mailing that would be arriving a few days later, according to Zeitlow. Zeitlow said that students can still get involved by participating in a “Thank-a-Thon,” which will take place during the first week of February. “We want to have a big thank-you effort go out,” said Zeitlow. “And so, if students are willing to make calls, if they’re willing to write notes, we would really welcome student involvement in that.”
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