Fund lends helping handIt all started with some bad driving. When a car on Burton struck a seeing-eye dog owned by a Calvin student in 1989, the Calvin community stepped up and donated approximately $2,500 to help pay the vet bills. Luckily the dog’s injuries weren’t as grave as expected, and the bill was only $800. The rest of the money was allocated by Student Life to start the Community Care Fund that is known and loved today. The Community Care Fund is a “student-to-student fund,” according to Souzan Karadsheh, the director of the Calvin Annual Fund. Donations from students collected at LOFT services or the four Improv shows last week go directly to students in need. Emergency situations that arise, such as “personal injury or illness, loss of family member that forces them to travel far [and] financial hardship,” are covered by this fund, according to Karadsheh. Donations from students are especially important for this fund, and not only to provide for the needs of other students. Besides creating a safety net for students with financial emergencies, students “experience an aspect of being a Calvin alum. When you graduate you can join many alumni who have supported you as a student in giving back to the Calvin Annual Fund,” said Norm Zylstra, the coordinator of the Student and Young Alumni Program. The Community Cares Fund is a part of the Calvin Annual Fund. The Calvin Annual Fund is made up of donations from 11,000 people, both alumni and friends of Calvin.“Their gifts have a direct impact on maintaining the day-to-day operations of the campus and they allow the college to pursue initiatives that enhance the student experience,” said Karadsheh. Some of these operations and initiatives include the financial aid received by 92 percent of Calvin’s 4,092 students this school year, internships, student organizations (for example, the Chimes), Service-Learning endeavors and study abroad programs. Students can also thank the donors to the Calvin Annual Fund for the low 12:1 student-faculty ratio. The Calvin Annual Fund website lists 62 percent of the donated money going to “teaching and housing students,” 22 percent for financial aid, nine percent for the administration and seven percent for the Physical Plant. The website also notes the importance of giving to Calvin in today’s economic climate, as “in recent years, the average incoming student requires 15 percent more student aid.” Donations have been especially instrumental in keeping Calvin’s tuition affordable. President Byker himself called the fund “the lifeblood of the college.” “It’s basically about helping every student every day,” said Karadsheh. “At Calvin, we enjoy a holistic liberal arts education; giving today [to the Community Cares Fund as students] and later as alumni is an important way to support the students and maintain the college’s place as a leader in Christian higher education.” To make a student donation to the Community Cares Fund, get an envelope from the Student Development Office or the Campus Ministries Office, go to www.calvin.edu/go/give or give at LOFT.