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University increases scholarship funding

In recognition of the recession’s impact on students’ family finances, University Advancement has intensified its efforts to grow DU’s endowed scholarship funding.

“Scholarships are the number one priority in our fundraising efforts,” says Ed Harris, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “More than ever, we are working hard to make sure that every dollar contributed to scholarships has the maximum impact for students.”

During the past three years, donors have established 143 new scholarships at DU, 72 of which are endowed. As of the end of fiscal year 2009, new scholarship gifts totaled $53,819,576.

The current economic climate has provided a unique occasion to discuss with donors the impact of a gift to scholarships as well as the ways in which such a gift can be structured, Harris says, noting that donors are increasingly aware of the need for these funds because of stories they hear in the news. At the same time, he says, individuals whose own finances have been affected by the recession may not be as able to make a one-time gift to endow a scholarship as they once were.

“It’s an opportunity to talk with our donors, as we always do, about the effect they would like their gift to have on the lives of our students,” says Megan Mahncke, senior director of development. “If they can’t make a cash gift to endow a $100,000 scholarship, for example, but they want to have an impact of that magnitude, we talk to them about making annual gifts that would be equivalent to the distribution of a $100,000 endowed gift. That enables more people to be involved in a significant way.”

Such gifts are extremely valuable to the University, adds University Advancement’s Adam Cermak, deputy vice chancellor and chief of staff. “A commitment to scholarships, whether through endowed or annual gifts, provides vital funding for students’ continued learning and growth. As such, its impact cannot be overestimated.”


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