Berry College Firsthand Fund
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Firsthand Fund Giving FAQs

Q: What is the Firsthand Fund?
The Firsthand Fund is a yearly campaign to provide support for student tuition assistance and the student work experience program. Gifts to the
Firsthand Fund also support many student-life activities and are used for such things as purchasing books and journals for the library, providing athletic equipment for Viking teams, and supplying lab equipment for student researchers. Typically, Firsthand Fund gifts are used to benefit students in the same year that they are given. Year after year, they help keep a Berry education both accessible and exceptional for hardworking students.
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Q: Are Firsthand Fund gifts tax-deductible?
Yes! Any gift to Berry College (a 501c(3) charitable organization) is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Gifts of stock, mutual funds or other appreciated securities can be an especially tax-friendly way of giving to Berry, since donors are able to avoid paying capital-gains taxes on the appreciation of their securities.
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Q: Can I make a pledge over several years?
Absolutely! We'd love to talk with you about this; contact Sloane Hernandez at slhernandez@berry.edu or you can give online.
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Q: If I can only afford a small gift, will it really matter to Berry?
Every gift of every size is important for many reasons, but here are two major ones:
 

  1. Annual gifts of all sizes and types unite to make a tremendous difference in the lives of Berry students. Through collective giving to the Firsthand Fund, more than $2 million is available for Berry students each year. Every gift – large and small – contributes to that important total and is greatly valued. 
  2. Your participation says you care about Berry and want to see it thrive. Many corporations and foundations use the overall percentage of Berry alumni who give each year as a factor in deciding whether to make grants. Also, alumni participation is a component of highly publicized college ranking systems. A high percentage increases the perceived value of a Berry degree. 
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Q: Can I dedicate my Firsthand Fund gift to someone?
Yes! You can make a gift in honor (or memory) of someone special to you.
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Q: What are matching gifts?
Some corporations or companies will match an employee's gift to Berry on a one-to-one, two-to-one, or three-to-one basis. These programs enable a corporation or company to support the institutions in which their employees are most interested. Your human resources department or employee relations office can tell you if your employer has a matching gift program in place and provide you with any necessary forms.
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Q: Why does Berry need my Firsthand Fund support every year?
Gifts to the
Firsthand Fund normally are used for students in the year in which they are given; the fund starts over each year. These gifts directly support student scholarships and the work program, as well as other important student needs. When you give to the Firsthand Fund, you are helping to assure that every student has the opportunity to work on campus every semester. You also are helping to keep the firsthand experience at Berry College affordable and accessible to deserving students from all walks of life.  

Because of people like you, the cost borne by students for their Berry experience is significantly less than the overall actual cost of a Berry education. How much? Gifts of all types enable the college to fund an average of $10,000 per student in need- and/or merit-based financial aid! That’s on top of an approximate $9,000 reduction in Berry’s tuition rate made possible by the college’s endowment. Giving back for the next generation of students is a longstanding Berry tradition.
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Q: What are the different ways I might be asked to give?
Alumni are solicited in a variety of ways, including calls from Telefund student workers, letters and postcards, e-mail, and personal visits. Student callers also ask parents for support, and alumni volunteers sometimes contact classmates about giving. Over the course of a year, you might be contacted in several ways about making a gift. Why? Because alumni participation in the
Firsthand Fund each year is so very important.
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Q: Why am I encouraged to make a larger gift in my class reunion year?
Your class reunion is a special time to come together with old friends and share the excitement of being back on campus together. It's a natural time for a class to affirm its commitment to Berry. During the year leading up to your class reunion, you probably will be contacted by a class volunteer who will ask you both to attend your reunion and to make a "stretch" gift in honor of the anniversary. Classes traditionally set ambitious dollar and participation goals in order to make a gift that reflects the strength of their class and its loyalty to the school. We hope you’ll join in.
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Q: What are giving clubs?
Giving clubs are based on the size of gift you actually make to Berry (not an amount pledged) during a given year. They are:
 

Martha Berry Society
    Pilgrim Society: $25,000 or more
    Founder’s Associates: $10,000 to $24,999
    Oak Hill Associates: $1,000 to $9,999
Opportunity Club: $500 to $999
Second Century Club: $100 to $499
Count Me In: $1 to $99
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Q: What if I have more questions?
Contact Sloane Hernandez, Assistant Director of Advancement Services, at 706-290-2162 or slhernandez@berry.edu.
 

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