posted December 1, 2010

Mortar Board Chapter Leads in National Book Drive for Third Year

The Hope College Alcor chapter of Mortar Board has placed first in the national organization's "Virtual Book Drive" for the third consecutive year, raising funds to provide books to children nationally as well as locally.

The chapter raised $10,899.61 in the July 24-November 12 drive, which the national Mortar Board organization held in conjunction with First Book, a national literacy nonprofit.

The Mortar Board Virtual Book Drive is a fundraising challenge in which chapters compete to raise funds in order to bring new books to local programs serving children from low-income families.  The funds are available for use through the First Book Marketplace, where programs can choose from hundreds of high-quality titles at deeply discounted prices.

A tenth of the total will support First Book's work providing books to children all over the country.  The remaining 90 percent will be used in Holland, along with an additional $600 that the chapter won for being the drive's top fund-raiser and for raising more than $500, for a total of $10,409.65.

Of the total, $9,000 will become credit for use by Holland West K-7.  The other $1,400-plus of the funds will support the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program, which is a community organization housed at Hope that provides academic and cultural enrichment for at-risk first- through fifth-grade students.  CASA is also receiving about 100 books that the chapter collected during the college's Homecoming football game in October.

Hope's total in the national Virtual Book Drive exceeded the total raised by the second-place finisher by more than $5,700.  Across the drive's three years, the Hope chapter has raised more than $24,000.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service, and provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.  Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 228 collegiate chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Alcor chapter has existed at Hope since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961.  During the 2010 Mortar Board National Conference in July, the chapter received the organization's highest honor for a collegiate chapter, the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award.  The chapter also received eight "Project Excellence Awards."