The Power Behind the Purple: Community

The nation is in the midst of a giving crisis. Over the past 20 years, there has been a decline in the number of people giving charitably.

But at Holy Cross, the 9th annual Power of Purple Giving Day just reached historic levelswith more than 8,100 donors raising over $3.5 million in a span of 48 hours.

What made that possible? A community of loyal alumni, supporters and advocates who go above and beyond to counteract this national decline in philanthropy. This year, over 230 advocates personally inspired over 1,600 donors to give more than $306,000 to support students.

Another way Holy Cross is bucking national trends is by harnessing the power of competition, both on the court and on the challenge board. This year, the Power of Purple Giving Day was combined with Athletics Giving Day during Winter Homecoming. As the women's ice hockey, men's basketball and women's lacrosse teams battled it out in their games, different class years battled each other to see who could raise more money or achieve the most participation. 

Of course, the dollars raised matter. Contributions made during Giving Day go toward the Holy Cross Fund, which is available for immediate use toward the area of greatest need for the College and our students. Donors can also designate their gift for the area of the College that matters most to them. The Holy Cross Fund supports all aspects of the student experience, from academics and athletics to student life, financial aid and beyond. It’s a key component of the College’s operating budget, one that continues making our community on The Hill possible.

And it’s that community that makes Holy Cross what it is. So while the dollars raised matter, the participation percentages, the stories shared and the relationships reinforced during Giving Day matter just as muchif not more.

We have thoughtful, caring, giving people that are not only invested in themselves but are invested in other people and their success. When you have that type of community, it’s infectious. People want to be part of it.

Kathy Maggi ’91, incoming co-chair of the President’s Council

For Maggi, Holy Cross is a family affair. She attended the College at the same time as her sister. Her nephews are currently enrolled. Some of their friends are the children of Maggi’s own friends from her time on The Hill. She’s even continued building friendships with acquaintances over the years, simply by calling them on behalf of Holy Cross or seeing them at reunion.

Maggi was also the first donor to come on board for the biggest match of this year’s Giving Day. For every 1,000 donors (up to 5,000), a group of alumnae representing every decade since women were first admitted to Holy Cross, would donate $100,000 in honor of the College’s 50 years of coeducation. After Giving Day reached 5,000 donors, this match unlocked another $500,000. Based on participation and not dollar amount, this challenge was a reminder that any amount can be meaningful and a tribute to how far the College has come in the past 50 years.

“As we go back to our Jesuit, Catholic school up there on Mount St. James, we want it to continue to thrive,” Maggi said. “We need the generosity of people who have come before, who are there now, when they graduate to remember that the investment they are making today will give great opportunities and experiences to others.”

Hers is just one of countless stories from Giving Day inspired by the relationships they’ve cultivated because of Holy Cross.

Giving Day coaches outreach
Holy Cross coaching staff outreach to alumni on Giving Day 2024
Giving Day alumni outreach
Alumni show their support on social media for Power of Purple Giving Day 2024

Stephenie Chaudoir offers a faculty perspective. She’s a social health psychologist, an associate professor of psychology, and she’s finishing up a three-year term as speaker of the faculty. She’s very aware and grateful that her own educational journey was made possible by benefactors who enabled her to receive a full-tuition scholarship to college, and she knows the importance of paying it forward. Inspired by her students and colleagues, her gift was, “in celebration of all the students who show up to seek truth for themselves and the communities they serve, and the educators who light the way.”

“Fundamentally, education is about bettering yourself,” Chaudoir explained. “It’s about being able to put more tools in your toolkit to separate fact from fiction. I want to lift up and celebrate everybody who shows up every day to do the work.”

Winter Homecoming provided another opportunity for students, alumni and community members to come together in person, connecting the people who make up our community with the people who make it possible. Students on different teams and parts of various organizations, like the Holy Cross Goodtime Marching Band, were able to connect with donors in person. Volleyball alumni, led by volleyball head coach Kathleen Colpoys ’12, raised approximately $50,000, the highest amount ever raised for their program. And through the inspiration of alumni donors and the efforts of the class of 2024, 100% of student-athletes participated on Giving Day.

These are just a fraction of the stories from this year’s Giving Day. Once again, alumni, family, students, faculty, staff, and friends demonstrated their love and support for Holy Cross by giving back to the place that has made such a big impact on their lives. Their support is a show of strength for this community that, in turn, only makes it stronger. And it is an example of how members of the Holy Cross family live the mission every day, both on The Hill and beyond.