Donor Spotlight: Professor Donald C. Hood

Longtime CCS donor discusses why he has given to CCS for more than 20 years and why he thinks you should donate too.

Joan Grifith-Lee
Shaba Keys
November 24, 2020

In this new series, we feature CCS donors in gratitude for their commitment to help those in need in our community.

Professor Donald C. Hood, the James F. Bender Professor of Psychology and Professor of Ophthalmic Science (in Ophthalmology), has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 1969. From 1982 to 1987, he served as Vice President for the Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the Optical Society of America. In early November Professor Hood sat down with CCS Director Joan Griffith-Lee for an interview, below is a recap.

Could you share your motivation for becoming a CCS donor 20+ years ago?

It is a specific reason for me. I was concerned to see the number of people on Broadway homeless and asking for food.  I did not think the right answer was giving directly to individuals on the street. I recalled the information sent from CCS and after a close look decided to start giving in this way.

You never miss a donation to the Annual Appeal. Why have you chosen to make this yearly gift?

My wife and I have lived in this community for over 50 years. I love the neighborhood, and this is a way to help out, a way to do something for the community. After learning more about CCS and seeing the grantee award presentations, I was amazed with the work – the breadth is staggering. The afterschool programs and the elderly programs, cultural programs and to hear the personal stories. I was not only giving to support the community, but I was also giving to support them. It is easy to give money compared to giving time.

Can you talk about why you gave early this year and designating Broadway Community to receive a portion of your donation for their food relief program?

COVID-19 has really brought home to me and my wife how lucky so many of us are. All of us who have our health and warm place to live, money to eat. After seeing people lined up (waiting for food) outside of Broadway Community and knowing those numbers will increase. Why wouldn’t you want to help others? People will be going hungry. I am really glad we tripled our gift this year; thanks to everyone involved in this work. 

What is a message that you can share with potential CCS donors?

I am often surprised that the participation rate is not higher. People should just go to the website to see the variety of things you are doing. They do not have to give a lot, but they should just give something.

Columbia Community Service (CCS) is one of the oldest and most visible manifestations of Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College’s commitment to our surrounding communities. CCS recently launched its 74th Annual Appeal, which is currently focused on raising $250,000 by December 31. Donations will be used to support food security, health, and education nonprofits in Harlem and Morningside Heights. Visit the Columbia Community Service website to learn more and find out how you can help make a difference.