Dining for dollars


READY TO DINE—Ballroom I in the Northern Center will host the $150-a-plate Green and Gold Gala on Sept. 21. Photo courtesy of NMU Marketing & Communications

Mary McDonough

As the school year begins to find a steady pace, the NMU Foundation is getting ready for the first Green and Gold Gala, a fundraiser for an important student aid program at the university.

Plenty of entertainment is planned for the soiree on Sept. 21 where the foundation invites a number of donors and NMU alumni to consider how they might be able to impact current students on the winding road to graduation. Half of the proceeds from each $150 ticket will go toward the Flexible Student Aid Endowed Fund (FSAEF).

According to the gala’s website, there will be a tour of the new Northern Center, a cocktail hour, roaming desserts, dancing and live music. Guests are encouraged to don their best green and gold attire for the evening.

Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. with dinner and programs starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available on the NMU Foundation website.

Director of Donor Engagement Jessica Jones explained that the fund started eight years ago with a focus on minimizing financial burdens on students that keep them from graduating.

“The fund is designed to be a financial resource for needy students who experience unexpected financial challenges—such as medical expenses, day care, car repairs and other expenses not covered by traditional sources of financial aid—that would make it difficult to focus on their education and graduate in a timely manner,” according to the NMU financial aid website.

Undergraduates are preferred applicants for this type of aid, and students must be enrolled in a full-time capacity as well as have a GPA of over 2.0 in order to be considered.

“One student applied for funding to rent a car when her vehicle was damaged beyond repair,” Jones said. “She was able to continue taking classes because of this fund.”

During the dinner, participants will have a chance to enjoy a menu designed by Executive Chef Nathan Mileski while also watching acts from NMU Music and Performing Arts, all under the roof of the brand new Northern Center Ballrooms.

Although the event focuses on drawing donor attention, the goal is to have one night to showcase student growth and achievement, particularly that which happened with the assistance of the FSAEF. Jones hopes that the evening will bring more than just donor attention to a resource that has the ability to help many students through their education.

“We want our students to know that there are NMU Alumni and donors to help them leverage their opportunities and graduate,” Jones said. “Please ask, you’re not alone.”