First Person: Ginger Hicks Smith, MyEmory Co-Chair

Ginger Hicks Smith ‘77C ‘82G is director of public programs for Emory Libraries and co-chair of MyEmory. This article originally appeared in Emory Report.

When the MyEmory campaign was launched during Founders’ Week in early February, perhaps you wondered two things: Why is the employee campaign called MyEmory, and why should employees give to Emory?

Calling the special employee portion of Campaign Emory by the title MyEmory acknowledges that each of us has a very personal picture of Emory. The employee campaign honors that individuality yet brings together the power of employee giving under the MyEmory umbrella.

Employee giving sends a strong and positive message in many ways. It affirms that we believe in the place where we work. It tells outside donors and granting agencies that Emory has the support of its own employees and is a great place to invest their donor dollars. It builds community from within as each employee donor sees his or her giving become part of an impressive employee total.

When anyone asks why I give to Emory, the short answer is that I believe in Emory. I believe in what it stands for, I believe in what it does, and I believe it what it can accomplish.

Much of my life has been spent at Emory. Soon I will celebrate the 37th anniversary of my arrival at Emory as a freshman and my 33rd year as an Emory employee. I can still remember making my first gift to Emory. It was a modest gift—$25—but it was very meaningful to me to become an Emory donor. And, I have given to Emory every year since then. This year, I will celebrate the 34th anniversary of that first gift, and I intend to keep giving to Emory every year until the planned gift in my will comes to Emory at the time of my death.

Each time I give to Emory, I feel as if I am playing a small role in perpetuating an enduring legacy that reaches back to the founding of Emory College at Oxford in 1836. The young college struggled for decades, and there were many times when the easiest thing to do would have been to close down the nearly bankrupt enterprise and consign Emory College to the pages of history. But that never happened because each time, those individuals who believed in Emory’s mission and future refused to give up on what they knew Emory could become. Our gifts, whether great or small, given to an area of Emory that speaks to our hearts and minds, become part of Emory’s history and Emory’s future.

For each of us, the MyEmory campaign offers meaningful return on our investment. MyEmory gives each of us the chance to invest in where we work, to demonstrate our pride in and hope for Emory, to join a community of supporters that spans every continent and many decades, and to see our gifts and others come together in a powerful way that truly can make a difference in the world.

April 2010