2014 Guilford Shares campaign reaches beyond campus

Access to opportunities for a better quality of life. Connecting people with effective ways to support critical environmental causes. A Greensboro-hosted National Folk Festival free of charge. These and more are benefits of the 2014 Guilford Shares annual giving campaign.

The campaign features three pioneering organizations — ArtsGreensboro, EarthShare North Carolina and United Way of Greater Greensboro. It allows Guilford to reach outside of our campus community and support local nonprofit organizations in the Greater Greensboro area.

“Earth Shares supports sustainability, ArtsGreensboro and the United Arts Council support the arts and theatre and United Way supports a variety of local organizations,” said Assistant Director of Facilities Brian Wenger, one of the campaign’s tri-chairpersons. “(Guilford Shares) associates the name of Guilford College with charitable giving and supports those individuals who are less fortunate.”

Donations and pledges can be made online at GiveAtTheOffice.org.

“If a person goes online to donate, they have some choices,” said Director of Human Resources and Payroll Rick Williams. “They choose which organization they would like to donate to. Then, within each organization, you can designate a specific funded agency. You may also choose to donate to an organization across the board.”

One substantial reward of supporting ArtsGreensboro is the National Folk Festival. Chosen from among 32 American cities, Greensboro will host this free festival for a three-year stay beginning in 2015. This will be the first time the National Folk Festival has been presented in North Carolina since its founding in 1934.

“It’s an 80-year-old institution and is the first and largest of its kind,” said ArtsGreensboro President and CEO Tom Philion. “(The National Folk Festival) brings together different communities, highlights all of the wonderful talents we have from the vast immigrant population in Greensboro and honors our heritage from a standpoint of the quest for equality and freedom that is recognized by Guilford students.

“It’s an opportunity for Guilford students and the community to participate and celebrate what makes Greensboro, and by extension Guilford College, a vibrant place to live,” he added. “The National Folk Festival, the new Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts plus the wonderful gift of the park downtown that will break ground in a couple of weeks provide huge momentum, moving this community in an exciting direction.”

Despite its benefits, the campaign’s achievements have dwindled over the last few years.

“Our goal is not a monetary one,” said Williams. “We decided this year that we wanted to mainly have a participation goal. If we can get participation at 50 percent of its potential community, that would be great.”

Although students want to get involved, many are uninformed when it comes to Guilford Shares.

“I had never heard about the campaign before,” said senior Hannah Schewel. “It’s interesting. I work for phonathon, and we are usually in the know about current campaigns. It’s something we could mention to our donors to get the word out.”

The Guilford Shares campaign makes it possible for Guilford to translate its values into public action.

“The diversity of opportunities for getting involved with the campaign, either personally or financially, mirrors the diversity of our campus,” said Williams.