As a Christian community, we love finding new ways at Oaks Christian Online to live out our faith together in practical ways. Most recently, this has looked like sourcing our graduation gowns in a unique way.
Cyndy, as our college counselor, can you tell us where our full time graduating seniors will be ordering their gowns for graduation for this year and why?
We ordered our gowns this year from an organization called Grads4Good which donates matching funds for every dollar spent to communities throughout the world that need clean water. Our dean of students, Jeff Ogne, discovered this organization at an ACSI conference he attended earlier this year and suggested we look into them as a provider for our graduation needs. The amazing thing is for just a little bit more cost, we have high quality caps and gowns, great customer service and the opportunity to give to those in need.
What do you hope this stirs in students as they celebrate this accomplishment in their lives?
There are two things I hope this encourages:
1) that our students would seek out companies that are doing good in the world and support them whenever they can and
2) that our students would become passionate about a need in this world and how they might contribute. One of the tenets of our faith is that we are “blessed to be a blessing.” God gives to us not so that we alone benefit from his blessings and provisions but so that we would use what we have been given to benefit the lives of others.
We had the chance to hear a bit from Bryan at Grads4Good about the concept of using the purchase of graduation gowns to generate funds for clean water charities. Bryan, can you tell us about what lead you to sell graduation gowns in this missional way?
Many years before we started Grads4Good, I toured full time in a Christian band. We partnered with some great Christian ministries that were doing Kingdom work serving the poor. I loved using music to help these ministries, and when we started Grads4Good we wanted to use our platform to support these missions and inspire the schools and students we serve to do the same.
Why graduation gowns? What are you hoping graduating students specifically grasp about this global issue?
We want to build long term relationships with the schools we serve. Our schools need our services every year. This gives us an opportunity to provide great customer service so our schools continue to work with us year after year. We are also very excited to inspire graduates to look for opportunities to do Kingdom work. We hope that when a graduate wears our cap and gown, they will be inspired to think creatively about ways they can serve the Kingdom with their future endeavors.
Finally, can you share with us a bit about the impact selling your gowns in this way has had on the clean water crisis so far?
Every dollar spent on our products is matched by USAID to help build wells through Food for the Hungry. As our organization grows, so does our impact. It’s a wonderful thought to know that thousands of dollars every year are given to help impoverished communities across the globe have access to clean water.