{Donating to My Alma Mater} Why I Give Even When I’m Saving

One reason that I have over $20,000 in student loans is because I chose to attend Spelman College, one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and #1 ranked HBCU. I was offered full music and academic scholarships during my senior year of high school to other colleges and turned them down to attend a school Forbes ranks among the nation’s top ten best women’s colleges. I got a little “something something” based on my academic achievements, but when everyone beside you is a Valedictorian and Salutatorian of their high school class, just being in the top 5% isn’t really scholarship worthy.  While I know my parents supported whatever decision I made, I am sure on some level my Dad’s wallet would have been very okay with a FREE education, elsewhere.

Michelle-Obama-Speaks-at-Spelman-College

Why I Spelman

Making the choice about where I would attend school was the first major decision that I ever made for myself.  It marked the transition from childhood to adulthood and  helped shape the course of not only my career, but also my life. In the end, I did not even consider the price of tuition (estimated $120,000) because I knew without a doubt, that Spelman was the right place for me. From the moment I walked onto the campus, so many beautiful, intelligent, and diverse women from around the world welcomed me. For the first time, I was “at home” in an academic space where standards and honor are raised.

spelman oprah

Why I Give Even When I’m Saving

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Earlier in my matriculation, I noticed the presence and pride of the alumnae. I was told that I was standing on the shoulders of greatness, hard work, and those who came before me.  Now is my time to help provide opportunities that help prepare the next generation of women who will change the world.  Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum acknowledges in the 2012-2013 Report of Philanthropy that “a college education is a privilege.”  According to Tatum, “We live in challenging times when educated women are needed more than ever.  The generosity of alumnae, corporations, faculty, friends, foundations, parents, staff, and our current students has secured vital financial support to develop  these change agents.  [Spelman] appreciates your contributions to scholarships, facility, renovations, innovative initiates such as Wellness Revolution, faculty and student research, and support of Spelman’s Annual Fund- all of which are critical for Spelman women to succeed.”  Yes, I have financial goals and a financial plan; but there is nothing like going back and seeing the women who are now standing on my shoulders and in need of support.  Giving back doesn’t always have to be in the form of financial contribution, however, I do highly recommend it.  Every year, Spelman announces a goal for it’s Every Woman Every Year campaign.  This year’s goal, like the year before, is to surpass 50% alumnae participation or 8,667 alumnae donors by April 11, 2014, the 133rd Anniversary of Spelman’s founding.  I make my contribution every year on this date and charge every Spelman alumna to show the impact of her voice, by making a contribution to Spelman in honor of our founding.  If you don’t give back to your school, I encourage you to do so.   If we don’t invest in where we came from, how can we expect anyone else to?

Happy Founder’s Day Spelman College

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

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