K-State Family Scholarship

New matching gift initiative helps current and future students

As classes began at Kansas State University this August, 20 new $2,000 scholarships were made available to K-State, thanks to a new initiative of the Kansas State University Foundation.

With State investment in higher education on the decline and the cost of attendance going up, the KSU Foundation looked for a way to increase scholarship dollars to help K-State’s ability to attract and keep students. The plan helps solve the problem immediately and ensures future success — a matching gift program that creates scholarships for use now as well as for the future, and inspires new donors to support K-State. The initiative is called the K-State Family Scholarship.

Early in 2017, the KSU Foundation received a $665,000 distribution from a trust designated for educational purposes. This distribution was used to seed a matching gifts scholarship program. Every new gift of $30,000 was matched with $30,000 from the initial gift, with $10,000 going into an expendable scholarship fund and $50,000 going into the endowment to fund future scholarships. This program was a success with 20 matching gift scholarship funds created in just a little over a month and many new donors stepping up to support the K-State family.

  • 20 scholarships at $2,000 a piece were created.
  • $1.35 million went into the permanent endowment, making over $60,000 per year available to students in perpetuity (based on current market returns and disbursement amounts).
  • The average gift size was $35,000; $5,000 more than required to be eligible for the match.
  • For 16 of the 20 donors, this was the largest gift they’d made to the KSU Foundation.
  • For 12 of the 20 donors, this was the first major gift (a gift of $25,000 or more) they’ve made to support K-State.
  • 10 donors had less than $25,000 cumulative giving to K-State prior to their participation in the Family Scholarship matching gift program, including six donors with less than $5,000 cumulative giving to K-State.

“The K-State Family Scholarship is a powerful example of how the K-State family inspires philanthropy,” said Greg Willems, KSU Foundation president and CEO. “It is not only creating much-needed scholarships for students, it’s also creating a new legion of K-State donors who are giving at a significant level. Many of the donors who took advantage of the matching program never imagined they’d be able to create a scholarship that could help so many students, now and in the future.”

For John and Jeannette Toney, both K-State graduates, this was their first major gift to K-State. “We’d been thinking of creating a scholarship for a while,” said John. “When we heard about the match program, that was the signal it was time to do something. It gave us more of an incentive. We wanted to be able to provide students an opportunity like we had to attend K-State and get some assistance along the way.”

Melinda Sinn, who works for K-State Global Campus, has seen how determined students make sacrifices in order to advance their education to provide better lives for themselves and their families. The match program provided just the boost she needed to make a dream come true.

“I had been evaluating establishing an endowed scholarship to honor my parents for two years,” Sinn said. “When I found out that matching funds were available for a short period of time, it made the decision easy to do it now. Where else could I double my money and make a much larger impact?”

Because of the success of this first matching gift scholarship program, the KSU Foundation is working with leading K-State philanthropists to create more K-State Family Scholarship match programs, providing immediate benefit to students, ensuring funds for future students and inspiring new donors to do more for the K-State family than they’d imagined possible.

If you are interested in participating in the K-State Family Scholarship match program, click here for more information or contact Stephanie Froehlich at 785-775-2007 or by email

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