On Wednesday, Nov. 13, representatives from Hope College and local business leaders will engage in a long-standing tradition of visiting more than 250 area businesses seeking contributions to the Hope Fund for the 2002-03 Holland/Zeeland Community Campaign.

The Hope Fund has been in existence for almost as long as the college itself. The Community Campaign on behalf of the Hope Fund began roughly 25 years ago as a way to engage community leaders with Hope faculty and staff in building and maintaining relationships between the community and the college.

The 2002-03 campaign chairperson is Lynn Kotecki, Huntington Bank's Holland/Zeeland community president, who has 28 years experience in the financial services industry, 23 spent working in Ottawa County. Kotecki noted that she is involved in the fund-raising effort because of the college's positive role in West Michigan.

"Hope is an essential partner in our Holland/Zeeland community," she said. "Hope College provides valuable employees to our organizations through the hiring of its graduates. In addition, Hope students, administrators and faculty provide leadership and services to government, not-for-profit and business organizations."

"Hope College has a very positive impact, both economically and culturally, on our community," Kotecki said. "It is because of this conviction that I have agreed to volunteer my time and provide leadership to the 2002-03 Community Campaign."

In addition to those receiving personal visits, hundreds more businesses and friends of Hope College will receive letters requesting a contribution. Susan Feldkamp, manager of the Hope Fund, estimates that more than 800 businesses will be contacted. "It gives business leaders an opportunity to invest in the lives of Hope students, many of whom will be future leaders in the community," Feldkamp said.

This year, the Holland/Zeeland Community Campaign is anticipating raising $210,000 in unrestricted support for the Hope Fund, which Feldkamp noted provides crucial operating support for the college. Revenue from the Hope Fund helps underwrite operating expenses such as academic programs; provides scholarships to students; and makes possible a variety of important student and community services, such as counseling, library materials, career planning, campus security and the Great Performance Series.