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A Longer View to Giving to Beloit

BartolStopher Bartol '88 and his wife are dedicated annual supporters of the economics and management department at Beloit College. They are also happy to have made a bequest to the College in their will because they believe in the life-changing impact Beloit has on students and the world. Here, he explains their generosity.

My wife, Sheryl, and I include Beloit College as part of our estate planning. We do this for the same reason that we support the College whenever we can. Simply put, we believe it provides the best "return on giving."

Of course, Beloit College gave me a lot personally, and I feel a debt of gratitude. I was the son of a mailman and a high school English teacher. My pre-college exposure to business and economics included occasionally stepping away from my post as a cook at the local Pizza Hut in my hometown of Sun Prairie, Wis., to help a customer at the cash register. Today I run a Web-based company that employs 150 people and can boast inclusion among the 100 most-visited Web sites in the U.S. Beloit no doubt was life-changing for me on many levels and helped put me on a course that wasn't remotely accessible to me prior to college.

But the reasons for supporting the College are bigger for us. It has to do with the multiplier effect—the concept that dollars spent actually create value many times greater than the dollar itself. And because Beloit's endowment is small, relative to many of its peers, the College has had to learn to do a lot with less, making Beloit extremely efficient with every $1 they are given to spend.

But what is it exactly that one is investing in?

There is an almost strange commonality about those associated with Beloit College. Whatever it is they are doing, they are out there trying to leave the world, or their chosen swath of it, a better place. Every time I run into another Beloiter, either from my era or from decades removed (in either direction!) I am amazed at the consistency of that trait. Yes, a dollar invested in Beloit is a dollar well invested in something very good and meaningful—when we think of institutions or causes that are likely to have a positive impact on the world and benefit our kids and their kids, Beloit just seems like that place.

Stopher Bartol
Class of 1988