From KSU Foundation: making an impact through scholarships

November 7, 2017

Everything starts with a promise.

The KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State. That’s our promise to you.

The Foundation team has been attacking the results of diminishing state support for higher education and the corresponding rise in tuition costs to make sure that a K-State education remains accessible and affordable.

Not only did we raise $152.6 million in FY17 — the second most successful year in KSU Foundation’s history — we were able to make $18 million in scholarships and student support available to campus, more than doubling what was made available seven years ago.

Market research revealed that 76 percent of donors felt it was important that future generations can afford to attend K-State and 80 percent of donors ranked scholarships as their #1 philanthropic priority. This alignment of donor desire with compelling student financial need fuels our success.

A few recent changes have been made in how scholarships are secured so that they are more awardable and impactful to students and easier to administer by the university. First, the Foundation invested in Academic Works, an automated scholarship management system which matches scholarship funds to student criteria. This system is in the process of being implemented by the university and will dramatically improve the overall management of these precious resources.

This summer, we made a shift in how many endowed scholarships are created. Formerly, the Foundation allowed for the selection of multiple scholarship criteria, which meant funds were not always easy to administer and conferrable to current students in need or who merited support. Today, endowed scholarships established with less than $50,000 can have only one criteria and that is of college designation. Moving forward, these new scholarships will be highly awardable and relevant to the student recruitment and enrollment needs of the time.

Also this summer, the KSU Foundation realized a $665,000 trust designated for “educational purposes.” We leveraged this as a matching fund opportunity to secure 20 potential $30,000 endowed gifts towards student scholarships. Launched July 5, this un-marketed campaign closed August 8 with each of the 20 endowed fund matching opportunities committed. Of these donors, 16 gave the most they had ever given to K-State, 12 gave their first major gift and of that dozen donors, six had cumulatively given less than $5,000 lifetime to K-State. These are promising outcomes in our effort to grow the number of supporters giving back to K-State.

The immediate impact for students is that $40,000 of the monies raised were made available this fall at $2,000 per student. Equally good news is that this innovative matching gift program created a permanent endowment of $1.35 million of which $60,000 will be made available for students in perpetuity. This initiative was tremendously successful on multiple fronts and we anticipate announcing several new similar matching opportunities later this fall.

The broader K-State Family has not yet solved the issue of declining state support for higher education, but we are in the fight. The KSU Foundation is your strategic partner for philanthropy and proud to be a progressive organization, striving to secure K-State’s future.

With Purple Pride,

Greg Willems, President and CEO
KSU Foundation

P.S. Stay current on KSU Foundation news, including posts on my activities, and follow the KSU Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

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heather strafuss

Heather Strafuss Fundraising services manager


Dylan Zheng

Lauren Boughfman Student Gift Officer