Turning Gifts into Service

Giving Tuesday has long passed, but the gifts have just started giving.

On December 1, 2015, Gordon College put a new spin on the annual philanthropic day by committing to give back for Giving Tuesday. For every gift received, Gordon pledged to complete one hour of service at local nonprofits this spring. One gift, one hour, #Each1Counts.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of donors, a record-breaking 462 gifts have unlocked 462 matching service hours in the surrounding community. This wave of service kicked off on March 9 as several Gordon employees joined Habitat for Humanity on a residential construction project in nearby Ipswich, MA. Another group helped with meal preparation and food pantry organization at the Open Door in Gloucester, MA, a few weeks later. And an Environmental Economics class cleaned up litter and did maintenance work along the Chebacco Woods trails.

To date, these projects and others amount to 190 hours of completed service—41 percent of the promised total.

This week, April 10–17, Gordon College ramps up the number of service opportunities in celebration of Founder’s Week—a time to honor the life and legacy of A. J. Gordon, a remarkable visionary with a palpable dedication to service.

Faculty, staff and students will make good on A. J. Gordon’s words, “Service overflows from us,” as they prepare and serve hot meals for the Open Door and Community Servings; help local farmers at the Food Project and Three Sisters Garden Project; clean up and assist with renovations at Windrush Farm; and volunteer in other roles with the Essex Country Greenbelt, Rolling Ridge Retreat Center, Habitat for Humanity, College Bound, the Amirah House, the Town of Wenham, and more.

“We are presenting this service as a gift to our neighbors—a gift of our talents, our time and our energy,” says Paul Edwards, chief development officer and senior vice president for advancement. “We are encouraging our alumni, likewise, to be living epistles—to make a tangible difference in the communities in which we’re placed.”

The week of service will culminate in three days of Founders Festival celebrations, including the annual Franz Lecture, alumni trivia night, Founders Convocation,  theater performances, concerts, a community feast, and a memorial service that will honor the legacies of the many men and women who have shaped the College.

The dozen (and counting) Founders Week service projects are expected to ratchet the service tally above 85 percent of the pledged total. Additional opportunities will take place through early summer. Follow the results of this year’s #givingtuesday campaign, #Each1Counts, on Instagram @GordonCollege.

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