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Unprecedented Year Ignites Engagement Across Holy Cross Community

Through challenging times, alumni, parents and friends demonstrated overwhelming commitment to, concern for others
July 29th, 2020 by 
Summer Scenics 2020. Photo by Avanell Brock
Photo by Avanell Brock

In the face of 2020’s historic challenges, the Holy Cross community continued its ardent support for the College’s mission – to be people for and with others.

“The loyalty of Holy Cross alumni is legendary and transcends even these unprecedented times,” says Tracy Barlok, vice president of advancement. “This year has certainly been a generational moment. Yet despite the uncertainty, over 14,000 alumni, parents, students and friends decisively came together to give, in a show of leadership, understanding and compassion.”

Holy Cross alumni, parents and friends remain among the most loyal and dedicated in the nation. For the fourth straight year, the Holy Cross community coalesced to contribute over $10 million to the Holy Cross Fund, exceeding the Fund’s budgeted goal for the eighth consecutive time.  Key areas of focus included the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund, which supports ongoing and enhanced initiatives that help foster an inclusive and antiracist campus environment for students who have been underrepresented at Holy Cross and the Emergency Relief Fund, established in the spring to provide assistance to students with unexpected financial needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The College’s Power of Purple Giving Day also demonstrated the collective sentiment of strength in a time of adversity, with nearly 4,000 donors giving a record-breaking $1.25 million. In addition, over 3,600 donors contributed to the Crusader Athletics Fund, raising over $1.96 million in support of student-athletes, with over 1,500 donors contributing $360,000 during Athletics Giving Day, also held this spring. And, over the course of the year, reunion classes raised a total of $26 million in gifts, pledges and estate commitments.

“The incredible outpouring of support for our students and our mission represents how the Holy Cross community is truly committed to being more,” says Barlok. “These funds not only place opportunity within reach of an increasing number of extraordinarily talented students, they also enable Holy Cross to continue as one of the nation’s top affordable elite colleges.”

Community engagement was visible in many other ways, especially through a combined 200 events held during the year, including the President’s Council receptions, Homecoming Harvest and the Holy Cross Alumni Association’s 150th anniversary. And despite the cancellation of in-person spring events, alumni participation in virtual programming soared, with over 40 online programs focused on education, career development, spirituality and fitness – many of which were created in collaboration with alumni – in addition to social and affinity encounters. The Alumni Association also launched “Mission Driven,” a podcast featuring conversations with alumni about leveraging their education on the Hill to make a meaningful difference in the world, with 11 episodes airing so far.

“In the prevailing climate, such engagement evidences the impact of Holy Cross’ values-based education,” says Barlok. “The depth of involvement of our alumni shows the strength, responsibility and dedication that Holy Cross community members feel with and toward one another.”

“We went out with aggressive goals at the start of the year, knowing this was the final year of our comprehensive Campaign as well,” admits Barlok. “And, I’m not at all surprised that our community has answered the call to help us not only reach, but exceed our $400 million Become More Campaign goal.”

“Such an outpouring of support amidst the unusual challenges that we have all faced this year is incredibly validating. This is what Fr. Boroughs means when he talks about engaging the world around issues and values that we hold dear.”

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