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Philanthropy Education

By Matt Haake
On November 17, 2017

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

Scholarships, facility improvements and enhancements directly impacting students of Ottawa University fall under the responsibility of University Advancement office. Their dedicated and motivated work is not to go unnoticed for all the exciting opportunities that the Ottawa experience provides.

Last week I sat down with Leadership Gift Officer Nori Hale, who walked me through how she became passionate about helping students. Hired on the University’s staff in an Adawe advising position, Hale developed a desire to help students with their education direction.

After she was asked to apply for the position of Director of Alumni Programs, she became one of the forefronts of the University’s philanthropy.

“Back in the day,” Hale said, “students were expected to write letters to the family that the scholarship came from,” if a student had received one. But unfortunately, we as students have lost that appreciation simply because we just don’t know where all this money comes from.

Some eye-opening numbers from the Financial Aid office is that the “average” Ottawa University scholarship award is $15,745 per student! Ladies and gentlemen that’s around 55 percent of full-time student’s tuition and fees, but where is all this money coming from?

Having spent the last seven years working in the University’s advancement efforts, Hale has seen the many different ways scholarship money comes through the door. The majority of today’s donors are “people who are 30-40-50 years out of school,” Hale said. “But some of our best donors are the most consistent in giving $50 every month since they graduated.”

As for the future, in order to continue to offer the same opportunity for the next generation of students, the office’s goal is to increase their endowment fund. An endowment fund is an investment fund established by a foundation or individual of $20,000 (university policy) that earns interest, which is then given out to students in the form of scholarships.

With millions given out in scholarship money, there are a number of ways students can engage and give thanks to all those who make college a little more affordable. The Student Alumni Board, along with the Advancement office, puts on donor appreciation days where students are able to write letters to donors explaining how they are thankful for all the giving over the years.

Thank you notes are great, however Hale said events such as homecoming are great opportunities for students to introduce themselves to alumni and have conversations, which is the most personable way to thank donors.

If you are interested in helping this endless cycle of giving, contact either Alumni Director Courtney Klaus, Garrett Brown or look for opportunities to join the Student Alumni Board, which works to continue the good relations between alumni and students. 

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