The Price of Philanthropy
By Kaitlin Schluter | Journalism major
A look at the importance of giving as Christians, even when the wallet is empty.
Corbin Hoornbeek, senior director of development in the Office of University Advancement, works with a team of professionals who serve some of the most generous donors of Azusa Pacific University. But over the course of twenty years working in resource development for world missions and higher education, he’s come to learn the reasons behind why donors give anything from single dollars to millions.
“The motivating idea for them is not, ‘hey we want to give a million dollars,’ and there’s something magical about that,” said Hoornbeek. “The motivating idea is how can we be good stewards of what God has given us and do it in a way that’s consistent with our personal values.”
Despite the recent recession, APU hasn’t experienced a decline in total giving. Over the last two years there was a 27 percent increase in donations and a 21 percent increase in the number of donors. This includes Rick and Robyn Dillon who recently contributed one million dollars to the construction of facilities on Adams Field. Or L.P. Leung, who donated $8.4 million earlier this semester to develop an accounting program centered on ethics.
Hoornbeek believes that recent grads shouldn’t wait to begin giving and making a similar impact with their resources. College students are often challenged against giving due to costs of living and academics. Rachel Cruze, speaker and daughter of Financial Peace University guru Dave Ramsey, recognized debt as one of the largest contributors in keeping college students from giving.
“We say that this generation has the heart to give but not the wallet because we are one of a generation of debt that robs us of being able to build wealth and being able to give,” Cruze said.
The goal rather, according to Cruze, should be to live outside of the world by being out of debt, living on a budget, and saving. A part of this includes avoiding credit cards, which tend to advertise to a college-aged audience. By avoiding agents of debt, students can get to a place where they are able to give abundantly.
“I don’t care if your parents are rich or poor,” said Cruze. “It’s the decisions you make that can affect your life. The power is in your hands.”
And no matter what stage of life a person enters, Cruze sees stewardship as important. This spiritual discipline emphasizes the distribution of time, talent, and treasure. She also suggests listing debts from smallest to largest, regardless of the interest rate. Students should begin eliminating each debt on the list, giving up things like eating out for a month.
“If you’re able to start off on the right foot and not have those extra bills, how much more is that going to help you?” Cruze said.
Adele Harrison, Ph.D. is an associate business professor at APU who also sees giving as a priority. Out of the three possible ways we can use money, being spend, save, or give, she believes giving should always be first.
Harrison stressed the need to control one’s money, rather than let it control you. Money is not amoral, explained Harrison, but what we do with it is. She encourages students to begin budgeting a percentage of net pay for giving and saving, acknowledging that in the end, all resources ultimately belong to God.
“If we are careful guardians of our vertical relationship, then we will be more attuned to the opportunities he provides us to give and make a difference,” said Harrison. “If we avoid being run-over by the urgent and try to stay focused on the important, then I think the other stuff just sorts itself out.”