Why I Give — Friends of MacMurray
People give because they want to help Mac shape the world, but that's seldom the only reason. Most donors are also motivated by something quite personal.
"It is always fun to help. Anytime I can take what I gained and share it with deserving people, I feel proud to be part of this great community."
- Gratia Coultas
Mrs. Coultas, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, has always believed there is great community value in the institutions of higher education that are housed in her beloved community. As an affirmation of that belief, in 2007, a gift from Mrs. Coultas funded MacMurray College's Center for Learning Excellence (CLE) and included a significantly upgraded learning center and learning support services; a computer laboratory used for teaching, learning, and student independent use; a state-of-the-art enlarged classroom with teaching technology, internet projection, and modular classroom furnishings, which allow for learning-centric structuring; a student lounge; and renovated CLE staff offices and the student study area. Mrs. Coultas' gift funded a wireless network supporting all CLE spaces, as well as the past three years for students in MacMurray's First Year Experience and technical support for the Learning Center.
In February 2011, faculty, staff, and students showed their appreciation to Mrs. Coultas for her dedication and love for MacMurray and her most recent gift through the financial support of the CLE. "The reception that was held at the Learning Center was a great honor to be part of and made my day. To see so many people affected through me selling some unused land made me genuinely happy to be part of something that touches so many students' lives. My financial planner assisted me with the financial aspect of giving to the CLE, but I knew it would be a great outcome no matter what. Anytime you can help students, it is worth it."
Although neither Mrs. Coultas, nor her late husband James, are MacMurray alumni, they have both been big supporters of MacMurray throughout the years. In fact, the Coultas' first gift to MacMurray was to the General Operating Fund in 1964. "I wish I could remember that far back as to what triggered my husband and myself to make the first donation to MacMurray, but I do know that we both truly love both colleges here in town and want to keep them going."
Like many other friends of MacMurray, Mrs. Coultas has diversely spread out her philanthropic donations and in her 47 years of giving. She has donated to 15 different funds including general funds, scholarships, special projects, and capital campaigns. Mrs. Coultas has always found unique ways to touch different lives here at MacMurray through her donations. "It is always fun to help. Anytime I can take what I have gained in life and share it with deserving people, I feel proud to be part of this great community. Jacksonville is my home, and I truly do love supporting the community that gave me everything I have today."
"I think it is important to look at where the college needs the money the most and support that fund, whether it is the general operating fund or a specific scholarship; it makes the most sense to help out where it is needed, which sometimes means giving to multiple funds at the same time." It is through the love of the community and dedication of people like the Coultas family that makes MacMurray College a true threshold in transforming students' lives.