With October’s Scholarship Month coming to a close, the University Foundation said it has raised $92 million of the University’s $150 million goal toward scholarships.
“The campaign has exceeded my wildest expectations,” said Foundation Executive Vice President Judy Kirk.
The University’s largest effort ever taken toward student scholarships and fellowships started two years ago, and this month the University is trying to increase visibility of the Promise of Tomorrow campaign.
The campaign is aimed at increasing student scholarships by 50 percent by using several matching opportunities through an endowment fund and the TCF Foundation match.
The TCF match is a one-to-one match for all donors who have never given or have recently donated.
“Matches encourage lots of people to give, both new donors and more seasoned donors,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Steven Rosenstone.
During the month of recognition, the University increased banners and advertising on campus to remind alumni and friends of the importance of giving to student scholarships and fellowships, Kirk said.
First-year finance student Rick Lonneman saw the fruit of the University’s labor when he received his scholarship this year.
The University rewarded Lonneman with $12,000 a year for four years through the Maroon and Gold Leadership Award.
“It’s been a great relief so far,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about a job, loans or other financial concerns.”
Students are often involved in the fundraising process through the foundation by telemarketing.
Students call alumni annually to raise money for scholarships in particular, said biology sophomore and Foundation employee Lindsey Boortz.
The available match for non-donors was an effective selling point for many alumni, she said.
“If we get to a lower giving amount and use that match, they feel like they are helping out so much more,” Boortz said.
Although October is Scholarship Month, Boortz said the foundation calls alumni year-round for scholarship donations.
The matching program still doesn’t convince some alumni to give, she said.
“You’re always going to get people who aren’t happy and will never give,” she said.
Despite raising money for her job, Boortz said she never applied for scholarships herself.
“As an incoming freshman I was working on applying, but I just left it and never finished it,” she said. “I am thinking about applying this year since I do all the work to raise money for it.”
The increase of 1,043 students receiving scholarships and fellowships in the past two years is still not enough to help all students in need, said Chris Mayr, Carlson School of Management chief development officer.
“I assure you there are no funds sitting dormant,” he said.
Mayr said scholarships create a “circle of life” with alumni who once received funds themselves giving back to students in need now.
“Students who receive scholarships now will give back once they graduate,” he said.
Lonneman said receiving his scholarship will encourage him to give back after he graduates.
“The intention of a scholarship is an investment in a student, but this is a great investment that will see a return,” he said.