Northern Michigan University launched “The Campaign” this semester as a form of funds and scholarships for students.
The Campaign started in 2006 with President Les Wong under what Vincent Grout, director of advancement communications said was the quiet phase of raising funds.
“We’ve been in the quiet phase for most of that time,” Grout said. “The quiet phase is when our gift officers work closely with friends and alumni of the university secure lead gifts, for example the John Berry gift, establishing the honor scholarships for research.”
NMU started the public phase of The Campaign during the fall 2014 homecoming celebration.
“The last leg is the public part that serves and is used to celebrate the generous donors we’ve had and encourage people to participate in the last leg of our goal,” Grout said. “Our goal is $25 million and we’re over 90 percent of the way there.”
According to Martha Haynes, vice president for advancement, the decision to make a campaign driven for students funds was based around the donors.
“When we first started talking about a campaign we were looking at a very broad comprehensive campaign,” Haynes said. “We also looked at where donors gave in the first campaign that Northern did and we realized that our donors really gravitate toward supporting our students.”
The Campaign Fund focuses on scholarships, research funds and travel expenses for student conferences.
“All the parts of The Campaign are to help to enrich the student experience and give better opportunities for either students who couldn’t afford to come or for students that are here to have opportunities that they normally otherwise wouldn’t,” Haynes said.
Another donor provided money for honor students to do research during the summer, its as stipend so they don’t have to go out and find jobs, they can stay here on campus and do their research.
Although The Campaign will end June 2014, Haynes said the Foundation will continue raising money for the students.
“We will still be raising money but it wont be wrapped in a comprehensive campaign format,” Haynes said. “That doesn’t mean the staff in this office won’t be out still raising the same amounts of money. We gave back over $300,000 scholarship money last year alone.”
“The Campaign is an important opportunity for students to apply towards,” Grout said. “ We’re coming up to the scholarship phase and we’re really trying to get the word out to students who many not know that these privately funded scholarships are available.”
“Our donors overwhelmingly love to support the students more so than helping with a building or help with equipment. They really like to give the students because they can see the impact and really do feel like they’re making a difference.
Jessica Jones, Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship said the online system makes scholarships through The Campaign easier for students to apply.
“There is criteria built into each scholarship,” Jones said. “The new online system (instituted in 2011) matches students to scholarships. So there are no initial requirements to login, any student, once admitted can login to their MyNMU account and see what scholarships they are eligible for and apply. They might be best matched to 8, or maybe 15, or more it depends on their major, GPA and other student information and parameters focused on achievement and need.”
Haynes also said the amount of students applying
“Putting this online has bumped up the number of applications tremendously,” Haynes said. “Previously we had all these great scholarships and some of them just sat there, no one applied for them. This previous year we only had one or two that were not awarded.”
“This is funding above and beyond your financial aid,” Jones said. “These are donors giving private funds to assist students achieve their academic goals. The stories of why donors are motivated to create these funds are powerful and inspiring and what they want to see is a legacy of success at NMU.”
“These scholarships range in amounts from $500-$5000-to full tuition coverage,” Jones said. “This could be the extra that a student needs to work less hours and spend more time studying. This could be the opportunity for a student to study abroad, or take on research opportunities. Students are taking advantage of these funds and the stories we relay back to our donors are making all Wildcats proud.”
Students interested in applying for scholarships through The Campaign Fund can apply online from Monday, Jan. 20 through Monday Feb. 10, 2014.
For more information on The Campaign and the NMU Foundation visit www.nmu.edu/thecampaign and www.nmu.edu/foundation/