Don Tocco posing with one of his pieces of art
Photo: Scott McClallen

Entre­preneur Don Tocco will give his 16th annual pre­sen­tation titled “Art of the Journey” at 7 p.m. on Monday in the Searle Center in which he will unveil his “Art for Schol­arship” fundraising concept.

“We will be reaching out to all alumni from Hillsdale College with the ‘Art for Schol­arship’ idea,” Tocco said. “I believe there’s no better way to start giving back than the place from which you have received the most. That’s why they say, ‘charity begins at home’ – in this case, here at Hillsdale College.”

Tocco said the purpose of “Art for Schol­arship” is to motivate alumni who have not yet donated to Hillsdale.

Tocco is dis­trib­uting 50 of his original paintings to Hillsdale College as a gift so that when an alumnus who donates $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000, that person can then select a painting in that cat­egory to receive as a gift, which is also a tax write-off. Alumni who donate will have up to five years to fund their schol­arship com­mitment, yet will receive the artwork upon the first payment installment.

“So we have a sit­u­ation where the alumni should want to give back,” Tocco said. “The obvious reason is to help those stu­dents fol­lowing them, and provide the same oppor­tunity they received when securing schol­arship monies.”  

Tocco has painted 50 pieces since 2006 and has sold several paintings for thou­sands of dollars to col­lectors. Tocco said the dollar amounts paired with each cat­egory of painting in the “Art for Schol­arship” port­folio are real­istic because he had pre­vi­ously sold his sculp­tures for $25,000 each.

“The bottom line to this concept is a true win-win; give schol­arship money and select a painting for no cost to the donor that is worth as much as the donation to Hillsdale college — then write it off,” Tocco said.

As usual, Tocco will finan­cially assist many of the Hillsdale College clubs whose members attend his annual speech.

Tocco said he wants to increase the total club dis­tri­b­ution amount from $15,000 to as much as $20,000, using the added money from the alumni who par­tic­ipate in the “Art for Schol­arship” program.

In his upcoming program, Tocco said he won’t deviate from his normal theme of encour­aging stu­dents to seek what the Greeks call “arete”— to strive to be the best pos­sible self, com­pared to no one else.

Tocco empha­sized the necessity for schol­ar­ships from alumni to open up oppor­tu­nities for new stu­dents who will become the bridge for future gen­er­a­tions.

“To pre­serve this college is integral to the future success of America,” Tocco said.