Grace College will host Day to ASPIRE on Thursday, April 27, 2017. This is the fourth annual 24-hour online giving event to support the Grace Fund, which provides merit and need-based scholarships to students. This year’s event is named “Day to ASPIRE” to coincide with the Aspire Campaign, the comprehensive campaign for Grace College and Seminary launched in March.
Day to ASPIRE supports sustainable affordability at Grace, one of the four Aspire Campaign priorities. As Grace College endeavors to make quality, Christian higher education available to as many students as possible, affordability is key. Funds raised during Day to ASPIRE will directly support current students and help attract future students to Grace.
Sharon Sallot, event coordinator and director of the Grace Fund, encourages the community to participate. “Grace relies on the ongoing support of our alumni and other donors, but investment by the community at large is necessary to make Grace successful,” Sallot said. “This is the one day each year when we specifically ask our surrounding community to support Grace College with a monetary donation.”
In 2016, $78,202 was raised from 532 donors. “We hope to surpass that figure as well as increase our number of donors this year,” said Sallot. While tax-deductible donations to Grace College are welcomed at any time during the year, the 24-hour community fundraising event will end at 11:59 p.m. on April 27. “Participating in Day to ASPIRE is a show of faith in Grace College and our vision to develop caring, confident and career-ready students prepared to live lives of purpose. We hope many new and returning donors will be inspired to give for this reason,” Sallot concluded.
The Aspire Campaign for Grace College and Seminary is the comprehensive $37 million campaign launched in March to propel Grace forward as an exemplary institution that trains the next generation to lead and serve well. Grace aspires to create richer living, learning and dining environments that inspire meaningful relationships and student development. To achieve this goal, Grace seeks to raise $10 million for Connected Community through new “third spaces,” state-of-the-art athletic facilities and student programs.
Relationships are integral to students’ success and to their emotional, mental and spiritual health. Indeed, residence-life experiences influence students as much as time in the classroom. Research shows that an average college student spends nine hours a week in the classroom while spending 71 hours studying, exercising, building relationships, recreating and dining. Third space settings are those outside of students’ residences (first space) and classrooms (second space). They are places for students to study, collaborate, dine and fellowship. The creation of third spaces will provide a richer student experience. These much sought-after places on campus will help drive our mission forward in tangible ways. Grace is seeking $7 million for third spaces. A total of $2.26 million has already been raised.
Athletics is another integral part of the Grace College experience. It provides a means for student development through discipline, service, spiritual growth and maturity both on and off the field. Nearly one-fourth of undergraduate students participate in Grace’s athletic programs. In order to expand the potential of Grace’s athletics and to impact current students as well as attract new students, Grace must invest in its athletic facilities.
The Aspire Campaign includes a $1.5 million goal to enhance athletic facilities. Incredibly, through the generous donation of friends and alumni, Grace has surpassed this goal and raised $1.57 million to date. These funds have been invested in the Miller Athletic Complex with the renovation of the soccer stadium and creation of Grace’s first track and field complex.
A $350,000 renovation of the soccer stadium began in 2014. Stadium updates included 1,000 new bleacher seats, a larger field, high-end floodlights, new team dugouts, a new scoreboard and a live-video enabled press box. In 2016, the soccer stadium was sponsored by and renamed 1st Source Bank Field.
Also in 2016, the Bernard and Linnie Key Track and Field Complex was completed. Although Grace has a successful track program, it has never had a home track to host meets. The new Key Track and Field Complex’s state-of-the-art design features a nine-lane, 400-meter competition track, grandstand seating for 400 spectators, discus and hammer throw cages, shot put and javelin throw areas, a high jump zone, three long jumps pits and dual-directional pole vaulting. The inaugural track and field meet will take place at Grace’s new Bernard and Linnie Key Track and Field Complex on April 29.