Learn to Give

Colette Whitney '11Colette Whitney’s volunteering and giving habit was already well established when she arrived at Saint Mary’s as a freshman in 2007. “I grew up learning that that was the right thing to do,” said Whitney ’11, who now works at SalesForce as a sales representative.

But despite being only three years out of college—a time when most young adults are just trying to make a living—Whitney has never lost the habit. She has continued to give to Saint Mary’s every year since graduation and gave $500 last year as a member of the 1863 GOLD (Gaels of the Last Decade) Society. She is also a member of the Spinsters of San Francisco, a philanthropic group for unmarried women ages 21-35.

“What goes around comes around,” said Whitney, who points to her senior-year experience as co-chair of the Student Gift Committee as pivotal to her continued commitment to giving. She sees donating to Saint Mary’s as contributing to the education of future students, some of whom may end up being her own children. “Down the road I will see the full circle. It’s an investment.”

When it comes to convincing her fellow recent SMC grads to open their wallets—no small feat when many are saving towards travel or new clothes—Whitney said she starts with, “Did you like your time at Saint Mary’s? How about you help another student have that experience? If you look at where you are today, it’s unlikely that you got there without SMC.”

She also reminds them that giving to Saint Mary’s gives them a chance to connect at events with older alums who can offer crucial professional connections in the future. “If you give back,” she tells them, “you might be able to get something back.” And besides, she added, “I just love giving back and the feeling of it.”

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