On Wednesday, Nov. 2, representatives from Hope College and leaders from local businesses will engage in a long-standing tradition of visiting more than 250 area businesses in Holland and Zeeland seeking contributions to the Hope Fund for the 2005-06 Community Campaign.

The Hope Fund has been in existence for almost as long as Hope College itself. The Community Campaign on behalf of the Hope Fund began nearly 30 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.

In addition to those receiving personal visits on campaign day, hundreds more businesses and friends of Hope College will receive letters encouraging a contribution.

"The Community Campaign is a time-tested drive to encourage participation among area businesses to be involved with the campus community," explained Mark DeWitt, Hope's director of corporate and foundation relations. "From the early days of Van Raalte's vision to today, Hope College and the communities of Holland and Zeeland provide great value and benefit to one another, and this campaign recognizes that relationship. Hope greatly appreciates business and industry participation in this effort through financial and volunteer support."

Al McGeehan, 1966 graduate and mayor of Holland, is serving as chairperson this year. He is an ardent supporter of college activities such as Hope sporting events and the arts, and noted that he is honored to be heading the effort as a friend of the college and a community leader, viewing the drive as essential not only to Hope but to the area as well.

"Here in the year 2005, both the public and private sectors are reinventing themselves to better meet the needs of a new economy. The reality of the profound economic impact of Hope College here in our community is substantial and measurable." he said. "The success of this funding campaign and the success of Hope College are of the utmost importance to the success of Holland, Michigan."

McGeehan has been mayor of Holland since 1993. He has been a teacher, a mentor, and a radio talk show host. He received a Distinguished Service Award from Hope College and a Paul Harris Fellow award from The Rotary Foundation, both in 1997.

Revenue from the Hope Fund provides discounted tuition for every student. It also underwrites health, counseling and career services, assists in bringing world-renowned artists, authors, musicians and lecturers to campus and generates service opportunities for the college's students. Financial support of the Community Campaign and the Hope Fund makes available unrestricted dollars that not only keep the lights on and the snow plowed, but also enhances the academic mission of Hope College.