Alumni Annual Fund Co-chairs Inspire Others to Give Back

Brink Brinkley ‘76 recalls his first volunteer experience with Collegiate School as an alum. “I joined my classmates for a telethon back in the 1980s,” he said.
Since then, the current Alumni Annual Fund co-chair has remained active in the School as a parent (Maguire Brinkley ‘11, Archer Brinkley ‘13 and Sumner Brinkley ‘17) and as graduate willing to give of his time.

“I volunteer to stay involved and come out to Collegiate to see old and new friends,” he said.

Brink’s co-chair, Evan Ocheltree ‘05, has served on the Alumni Board for five years. He volunteers because, after moving several times as a kid, Collegiate felt like home to him when his family settled in Richmond in 1996. His wife, Alexis Janes Ocheltree ‘08, is an alum, as is his sister, Amy Ocheltree Schaaf ‘00, and her husband, Chris Schaaf ‘00.

“Collegiate feels like an extended part of my family,” he said. “It shaped me into who I am today. If I can do anything to give back and serve, I’m happy to do it. It’s very rewarding.”

Both Brink and Evan know the importance of donating to the Annual Fund and the support it provides to faculty and students. 

“I contribute to annual giving in the same spirit that I vote,” Brink said. “I respect the process, I want to participate and be counted, and I believe that even my modest bit will help.”

Evan agrees. “It’s not necessarily about large giving, it can be nominal giving,” he said. “Those $5, $10 and $20 donations can lead to larger gifts down the road.”

As co-chairs, both feel committed to inform other alums that their support matters.
 
“Part of my role is to educate others, especially young alums, about the importance of the Annual Fund,” Evan said. “For me, it’s a way to be involved in some capacity with an institution that changed my life.”

The participation of all alums benefits Collegiate financially, of course, but also shows that graduates have a vested interest in the School, Brink said.

“Schools with higher alumni participation percentages can show donors, prospective parents and others that we care about where we came from, and want to stay involved.” he said. “So every gift, however modest, matters in a meaningful way.”
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