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A Caring Connection

November 28, 2023

If you have ever donated to Liberty University over the years, you may have met Claris Stanley or Barbara Hoff. And chances are you made a new friend.

Stanley (left) and Hoff serve in Liberty’s Center for Donor Engagement, where they dedicate their time to developing relationships with supporters and friends of Liberty. Through regular phone calls — which often include praying with the donors — and thoughtful letters and cards, they express gratitude for the donors’ generosity and for their dedication to helping Liberty further its mission of Training Champions for Christ. Often, the interaction blossoms into a friendship.

Drawing from their own life experience (both women are in their 80s), Stanley and Hoff view their jobs as a ministry, showing love, care, and support through trials, whether it’s a health scare or the loss of a loved one.

“These ladies live out what we are supposed to do daily, which is just be available to whatever the Lord has for you. They’re ready and available,” said April Tolley, director of the Center for Donor Engagement.

That’s why around the office, they’re affectionately called “the prayer warriors.”

“It’s pretty amazing how they have walked with these people through death and heartache and illnesses and family challenges and wayward children and so many other life struggles,” said Wyatt Wilson, director of Planned Giving. “They do so much more than expected. They put forth a deeper layer of gratitude for the gift.”

Adjunct Professor Dr. Alan Cheney said he looks forward to Stanley’s constant calls of encouragement.

“It’s just another thing that makes (teaching at Liberty) worth it and reminds me that God is the leader of this endeavor,” he said.

While their ministry no doubt has a profound impact on others, Stanley and Hoff said they dually benefit. Every day, they get the opportunity to see the body of Christ at work for the glory of God.

“We try to encourage our donors, but they don’t realize how much they encourage us,” Hoff said. “And when we do get letters and emails back, you think, ‘OK, I really am doing a good job; I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m helping somebody. I love it and love being here.’”

“This job is a salvation to me. I don’t know what I would do without it,” Stanley said. 

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