In the last eleven months, ten class scholarships at ENC have reached endowment: classes of 1981, 1985, 1988, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2017. This is the first time that many class scholarships have been endowed in one calendar year since the inception of the Every Class a Scholarship (ECAS) Initiative in 2002 – a fundraising effort that continues to bestow the gift of a Christian education to many. Ruth Ann Ayres, alumni council member and one of the founding leaders of ECAS, explains,
“Since its launch, ECAS has been a grass roots effort designed to provide every class the opportunity to leave a valuable legacy to our Alma Mater,” said Ruth Ann Ayres, alumni council member and one of the founding leaders of ECAS. “Not only does that legacy grow over time, but it directly affects a student’s opportunity to attend ENC.”
Rebecca Shaw, associate director of institutional advancement, said ENC noticed an increase in ECAS donations during the True to ENC campaign in spring of 2017.
“Many were eager to give to their class scholarships and by the end of the month-long campaign, three scholarships reached the $10,000 mark necessary for full endowment,” she said. “Without the hard work of Merritt Mann and Ruth Ann Ayres, we would not be closing in on the goal to endow all class years. Their commitment to the cause has only grown since 2002, and after their appeal to reunion classes to join the Homecoming 2017 campaign, two more class scholarships hit endowment.”
With just a handful of class years yet to reach endowed status, and the last five senior classes graduating with their fund already endowed, the campaign has become more pointed. Ayres and Mann credit recent success to the cultivating of champions for the cause.
“A major component of the simple plan that emerged from the Alumni Council included a strategy to recruit one or two leaders from each class to rally support for their endowment,” Ayres said.
These alumni were encouraged to use whatever means available to them to connect with their classmates and motivate them to invest in their fund. The Office of Institutional Advancement supported these efforts – first, by way of printing and postage; more recently via email and now by way of social media and the newest development tool: crowdfunding.
With less than $5,000 needed to push each class year to scholarship-granting status, crowdfunding lends visibility to these three classes and offers a way to more easily share the campaign with alumni and friends of the college.
This year, ENC awarded 53 scholarships from ECAS earnings. Fifteen years ago these scholarships did not exist. In the last seven years, ENC doubled the number of scholarships awarded from 25 to over 50, growing the amount of aid provided to more than $50,000.
“The voices of our thankful students are also an important piece of the ECAS story,” said Ayres.
McKenna Kern spoke at Homecoming to the class of 1977 about what receiving a class scholarship meant to her.
“I am the oldest child of eight, and there are three of us in college – all paying our own way. Without the scholarships that I receive, there would be no possible way for me to afford ENC. Each extra dollar is an answer to a prayer,” Kern said. “It is humbling to know there are people that have never met me but believe in my calling and purpose to be at ENC. Without their sponsorship, it would not be possible.”
Engineering major Kaleb Golden said initially it was the financial support he received from ENC that made the decision to attend ENC over other institutions an easy one.
“I would like to say thank you for all of your faithful giving,” he said. “If not for your generosity, many students including myself wouldn’t be able to be here at ENC, and we cannot thank you enough.”
To donate to the Every Class a Scholarship challenge, visit crowdfunding.enc.edu.