Small Gifts Make Big Change

Small gifts can make a big change.

According to Bethany College, four years ago, Darren Burch ’05 had the idea to launch a philanthropic campaign of small gifts that would create big change for Bethany College. Today, each $50 gift will impact Bethany College in two ways . Half of the donations go to the annual fund and the other half to the Bethany Backers project.

This campaign, led by the Bethany College Alumni Council, has grown into Bethany Backers, the gifting launch of Bethany alums , friends, and the community who give gifts to complete a project of their choice. This year’s campaign began on Jan. 1, concludes on Feb. 17, 2023, and targets the Burnet Center in three parts. The first part focuses on creating a multi-purpose space, including a classroom, green room gathering, and presentation space for speakers, performances, rehearsals, and recitals. Second, lighting and technology upgrades will enhance visual and audio capabilities to accommodate groups and organizations better. The third is enhancing the outdoor area surrounded by Nelson Science Center/Burnett Center/Presser Hall with communal and educational space, including additional seating for educational and performance use. One of these projects will become the focal point of the Backers for this year when they vote on the project of their choice after the campaign concludes on Feb. 17, 2023.

This year’s campaign comes with a challenge from Tad ’81 and Mary ’82 Doering. The first 200 Backers donations will be matched by a generous $5,000.00 gift to the project. The Doering’s share a passion for fine arts and performance at Bethany College.

“A wonderful thing about Bethany is the many interests that can be pursued while getting an education from athletics, music, art, theatre, to service and more. Campus resources are needed to make that happen,” notes Tad. “The Burnett Center is a vital component for a few of these activities. While we are not a deeply musically, artistically, or theatrically talented couple –we love to see other folks do all those things well. That love was ignited in each of our childhoods and nurtured while at Bethany. The Burnett Center was new when we were students in the late ’70s to early ’80s. When our daughter Sarah Doering ’14 attended Bethany, she was active in many theatre productions, making the need for a vital theatre center even more evident. We are looking forward to what the Bethany Backers can do for Burnett.”

Please consider participating in the “Raising the Curtain”  campaign for Bethany Backers this year. Donations can be made in two ways:

  • Write a check to Bethany College with the tag/note of “Bethany Backers”
  • Give online using the same process at

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Photo by Elise S. Carter