Mike Clark is no doubt good at his job, which is raising money for Kansas State University’s athletic department. But the first thing he told Great Bend Kiwanians when he visited this week was, “It’s not all about the money; it’s all about relationships.”
K-State fans surely understood as Clark, who has been with the Wildcats since he came there in 1986 to coach baseball, talked about the faithful season ticket holders and other fans. It takes money to remain competitive, and plans to rebuilt the Vanier Football Complex and the north side of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium at Manhattan will cost $65 million. It all began with a big donation from the Vanier family.
Closer to home, Barton Community College has a director of institutional development, and her job also is to find money. Listening to Clark was a lot like listening to BCC’s Darnell Holopirek, who spends much of her time fostering relationships. Her philosophy: Tell people what you’re doing, and if they are interested in becoming more involved, help them learn how to do that.
It’s not just a sports thing, or even a college thing. It’s a giving and doing thing. People want to be involved in helping children, or in preserving our history, or in easing the pain of someone in need. Others want to make sure animals are treated humanely, or that our parks look nice, or that blighted areas are cleaned up. Some want to enjoy a ball game.
As the United Way Stuff the Bus got underway this week, volunteers who sweated and loaded donated items onto buses handed out “Pay It Forward” cards. “Pay it forward” entered our vocabulary in 2000, when a movie was released about a young boy attempting to make the world a better place. The message on the United Way handout explains, “Pease do a good deal, whatever it may be. Pass this card on to that person and hope they do the same thing.”
There are many ways to “pay it forward.” Money always helps, but the gift becomes more personal when we get involved.