Parents have hopes and expectations for their children as they grow and mature. At the forefront is the attainment of a meaningful career that provides purpose and adequate financial resources. If all goes according to plan, a lifetime of work results in retirement with sufficient income to sustain our lifestyle and leave some inheritance for loved ones. Without doubt, a purpose-filled and holistic view of life places the accumulation of wealth in proper perspective, but none of us would deny the importance of adequate financial resources to support the needs and wants of our loved ones and ourselves.

Thus, giving away money is a big deal! Philanthropy, defined as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes,” is an altruistic and laudable action.

Davis & Elkins College, and the transformative education we offer to students, would not exist without philanthropy. The many alumni and friends who generously and selflessly give their dollars to support the education of D&E students are essential to our mission.

Nearly 330 individuals or couples are members of D&E’s 1904 Society. Membership in this “Cultivation Society” requires an annual gift of $1,000 or more. 1904 Society membership is on the rise; however, it has not reached the numbers needed to sustain the growth and promising future for D&E. The eventual target for the 1904 Society membership is 500, which is both a necessary and attainable goal.

My wish for those who generously give of their resources is to see firsthand the impact of their philanthropy. That is why we initiated a 1904 Society Gala in 2019 that was intended to be an annual event. D&E students were front and center as donors met and heard from the very young men and women who were the beneficiaries of their gifts. Engaging in conversation with our students and experiencing the hope they provide for the future is the “return on investment” for our philanthropy.  Though the pandemic disrupted our plans for an annual gala, it is now time to revive plans and anticipate our next inspiring gathering.

If you are presently a member of the 1904 Society, I express my heartfelt gratitude. You and your fellow Society members are making a difference in the lives of our students. Thank you for the support you have provided and continue to provide so that “D&E” not only stands for Davis & Elkins College but is also synonymous with “Distinction & Excellence.”

If you are not yet a member of the 1904 Society, please accept this invitation to join us. Giving away money is a big deal, and I do not ask for your support in cavalier fashion. I do believe, with all my heart, that investing in the minds and hearts of our next generation of community leaders is a wise and prudent philanthropic investment. I also pledge that we will be good stewards of those hard-earned dollars graciously given.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Davis & Elkins College would be honored to receive your philanthropy to transform a life and prepare a new generation of leaders.

The journey continues….

Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College