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A Giving Community

Dec 04, 2015

A Giving Community: Institute Sets New Records in Donor Giving as Alumni and Friends Reconnect with Au Sable


       “It’s a remarkable development,” says Dr. Fred Van Dyke, Executive Director of the Au Sable Institute. “For most of its institutional life, Au Sable never asked its alumni and friends to help in supporting Au Sable’s work, and, as a result, the Institute rarely received significant contributions. That weakened our ability to mutually support and admire one another in our work in creation care. But in recent years, Au Sable has been making a stronger effort to connect with this community. To do so, we created the Au Sable Professional Network (ASPN), began an Annual Alumni and Friends Reunion, and started distributing an annual report. And we have begun to ask alumni and friends to contribute financially to Au Sable’s work. Each year they have done so, each year they have given more, and in this last fiscal year (FY 2015), they gave more than ever.”Nearly $103,000 in designated and undesignated donations, to be precise. People from all walks of life, and all kinds of ministries in creation care, are now giving generously to the Institute.

            Bert and Mae Froysland have been an integral part of the Au Sable Institute since its beginning. In many ways responsible; with Au Sable’s Founder Dr. Harold Snyder, for the growth and success of Au Sable in its early years, the Froyslands continue to be donors to this day. “Mae and I have been part of Au Sable since 1963. Little did we know that we would, literally, spend the rest of our lives investing our energy and our resources in the Au Sable Institute. We continue to support the Institute financially for two reasons. First, we believe the mission, ‘To inspire and educate people to serve, protect, and restore God's earth,’is Scriptural. We read in the book of Genesis that when God looked upon what he had created, He ‘saw all that He had made and it was very good.’ In Psalm 24:1 we read that ‘The earth is the Lord's and everything in it.’ Second, we have been able to observe how successfully we have carried out the mission of inspiring and educating people, especially the students from our many participating colleges. Our alumni are engaged in creation care around the world as teachers, missionaries, government workers, and concerned citizens. Going forward, to carry on and expand Au Sable's programs and to make necessary improvements to the physical plant is going to require significant funding. Given our long and close relationship to the Institute, Mae and I can verify that it is worthy of support.”

            Au Sable alum Dorothy Boorse, Professor of Biology at Gordon College (MA), told us, “I love Au Sable. It enhances creation care through the lives of the students who come through its programs and go on to become advocates for creation care and become scientists who are equipped to be both stewards of the environment and study it. I am such a person who has benefitted from the institution. Now is my chance to give back. Au Sable is a community of people who care for God, the natural world and each other.” Dr. Boorse, a former Au Sable student who now serves on the Institute’s Board of Trustees, notes, “My donations have a clear impact on students, on stewardship and on science. ”Dorothy’s life has been powerfully shaped by the Au Sable Institute, a story not uncommon amongst its alumni and friends.

            Brook and Emily Wilke are another example of faithful donors to the Institute. Now married with a family, and running a farm at their home in Michigan, Brook was a former Grad Fellow and Emily both a former student and Grad Fellow of Au Sable. “Au Sable has impacted us both, the Institute contributed greatly to the direction we chose for our lives. We donate because as students we benefited from the unique community of Christians with a passion for creation care that is found at Au Sable and we want college students today to have the same transformational experience we had” says Emily.

            With countless testimonies echoing the sentiments above, it is evident that Au Sable’s impact, reach and reputation will continue to grow in the years ahead. With a rich history of influence and fond memories amongst its alumni and friends, Au Sable is now benefiting greatly from the contributions of its giving community, gifts which enable the Institute to provide more aid to students, strengthen the services provided by its staff, and reduce dependence on other income streams. For these gifts of finances, of service, and of heartfelt affection, we at Au Sable give thanks to our giving community and to God. We look forward to employing the contributions of our alumni and friends in increasingly effective work to serve, protect, and restore God’s earth in the year ahead.