Donor Stories

Monthly Giving Makes A Difference

(Article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Aware Magazine)

As soon as she graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2005, Audrey Krumbach started making monthly gifts to her alma mater. “It never occurred to me not to give,” she said.

Garrett-Evangelical is at the top of her philanthropy list for several reasons. First, she appreciates the strong scholarship support she received while at Garrett-Evangelical and wants others to have the same support. Second, she understands that the seminary could not exist without gifts from the community and from its alums.

But the main reason she gives, she said, is she feels blessed by the education she received. “I want more spiritual leaders in the world to have that same experience and education,” said Krumbach.

Dan Henry agrees with Krumbach. He said he gives regularly to Garrett-Evangelical because he thinks it is important to educate and support the clergy. Henry, who owned an engineering firm, had been giving annually and had helped fund the Royal and Rita Speidel Scholarship in honor of his former pastor. At the request of former Garrett-Evangelical president, Ted Campbell, he started giving $150 monthly in 2005 in celebration of Garrett-Evangelical’s 150th anniversary and has continued the practice, upping his monthly gift to $160. At the same time, he funded the Dan Henry Scholarship.

As a United Methodist all her life, Juanita Dean said she feels it is important to support a United Methodist seminary. She started giving to the seminary in 2000 with a gift in honor of Bishop Edsel Ammons and her pastor, Myron McCoy. A few years later, she began to give monthly to the annual fund and the Center for the Church and the Black Experience. While their reasons vary, what Krumbach, Henry, and Dean have in common is they all give monthly.

“My life is better when I routinely give,” explained Dean, whose granddaughter, Megan Dean graduated in 2012 with a master of divinity degree.

“Monthly just works better for my bookkeeping,” said Krumbach. “It actually allows me to give more than I would if I only gave an annual gift.”

“Many people don’t realize how much we value every gift to Garrett-Evangelical,” said David Heetland, vice president for development. “People read about the million dollar gifts and think that their gifts won’t make much of a difference, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without all the gifts we’ve received.”

To date, Garrett-Evangelical has received over $89 million dollars in gifts and commitments toward its Forging Our Future campaign. “Of the 16,286 gifts received, 14,164 of them were for less than $1,000,” he said. So far, the average gift is about $150. “Every single gift absolutely makes a difference,” Heetland said. “And many people have discovered that by giving regularly on a monthly basis, they can do more than they could if they made a one-time annual gift.”

Alan DeGraw, who graduated in 1966, served for 37 years in full-time ministry in different churches in Michigan. Over the years, he has given regularly to several different funds at Garrett-Evangelical, including the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation. He said he feels The United Methodist Church has supported him, so he wants to support the church and the seminary.

In 2013, he started giving monthly because he found it was easier. “It also has a greater impact in the long run,” he said. In 2014, he increased his giving significantly. DeGraw and his wife, Judy, established the Alan W. and Judith L. DeGraw Scholarship.

Ruth Hawhee and her husband, Gale Hawhee, a 1958 graduate of Garrett Biblical Institute, had been giving monthly to Garrett-Evangelical’s annual fund for many years. After her husband died, Hawhee continued the practice. “I always felt that Garrett-Evangelical made it possible for us to have a family and a good life, and I wanted to try to help other people have that,” she said.

She, too, found it easier to give monthly. “I just made it a habit and put it on my budget sheet,” she said. “Not everyone can give $10,000 at a time, but if you just start the habit of giving, it adds up.”