The Hope + Access Campaign for Financial Aid: A Conversation with Office of Advancement

Devyn Forcina ‘22

News Editor

The Hope + Access campaign for Financial aid seeks to raise $40 million for need-based financial aid. This eighteen-month campaign began in January 2021 and will continue until June 2022. Its philanthropic mission is to enable all admitted students to attend the College of the Holy Cross, regardless of their financial means. 

In the words of Tracy Barlok, Vice President of the Office of Advancement, the campaign “aims both to stabilize and enhance the College’s financial aid resources so that we can ensure a Holy Cross education is available and accessible to all admitted students.”

The Hope + Access campaign “is fundamentally about accessibility.” Barlok connects its mission with the College of the Holy Cross’ Jesuit mission: “we have always been dedicated to supporting the needs of individuals in the face of changing social conditions. This is why a commitment to financial aid remains the College’s highest philanthropic priority.”

The campaign has already raised a significant amount of their desired goal. “Just two months after launching the campaign, the campaign has already generated tremendous momentum,” Barlok says.  “As of mid-March, we are closing in on $10 million, thanks to the generosity of our dedicated alumni, donors, and friends. Our community’s commitment to keeping a Holy Cross education affordable, regardless of a student’s or family’s income, is nothing short of inspiring.”

Photo by Valentina Moran ’23.

One such donation was an estate gift from the late Agnes Williams. “She bequeathed the largest estate gift in the history of Holy Cross – over $23.5 million. The Williams family is generously supporting the Hope + Access Campaign for Financial Aid by supporting our decision to use her bequest to match all new and increased gifts to the College in support of financial aid.”

Agnes William’s generous gift will continue to grow through the Hope + Access campaign. “Gifts to new or existing endowed scholarship funds will be matched, dollar for dollar, to help us grow our endowment to support financial aid well into the future. In short, the Williams Match will amplify each and every donation, regardless of size, to this campaign, providing hope and access to Holy Cross students now and in the years to come.”

Ultimately, the Hope + Access Campaign operates, in Barlok’s perspective, on an individual and institutional level. “On the individual level, access to a Holy Cross education, and opportunity, should not create financial instability. In other words, the hope offered by a Holy Cross education should not present students with insurmountable economic challenge and debt. We feel it is our responsibility as a Jesuit institution to ensure that accepted students have the opportunity to realize their potential, regardless of their financial means.”

Barlok adds: “On the institutional level, the campaign will both grow our endowment funds that support financial aid and increase the availability of emergency-use financial aid. Gifts of any size and unrestricted dollars are so important, because those donations allow the College to be responsive to current student needs. In addition, larger gifts will grow and stabilize our endowment, enabling the College to provide opportunity for an increasing number of future students.”

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