Matching challenges to create new pool of endowed scholarships  

Scholarships will  be used to attract top academic students and to help low-income students attain a university education


Aug. 16, 2013

Two scholarship challenges, designed to leverage public funds with matching private dollars, could bring 48 new endowed scholarships to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).

The matching challenge grant programs — offered by the UMKC Board of Trustees and the University of Missouri System — will help UMKC toward its goal of having an abundant pool of endowed scholarships to attract the best and brightest students, no matter their financial abilities.

“The simple truth is that, without scholarships, we can’t continue to attract the students who make our university thrive,” said Murray Blackwelder, president of the UMKC Foundation. “We are currently working on raising dollars for two scholarship challenge programs that will make all the difference for UMKC.”

The matching scholarship programs solicit private gifts to unlock matching public funds. In other words, every dollar from a private donor is matched with a public dollar.

The 18 scholarships that will be created through the Trustees’ challenge will be used to attract top academic students. The 30 created through the UM System challenge will be offered to undergraduates who can demonstrate financial need.

“Both programs fill an important need in our student community,” Blackwelder said.

The UMKC Trustees designated $1.8 million for the scholarship challenge. For every private gift of $100,000, the Trustees will contribute $100,000, creating $200,000 endowed scholarships. Each will support a student in the Trustees’ Scholars program, which gives top scholars a full-ride scholarship, including tuition, housing and a book allowance, and connections to internships and other opportunities made possible by UMKC Trustees.

The Trustees’ Scholars program helps bring the brightest students into the UMKC community — and to Kansas City. Since the program’s inception in 2002, 59 Scholars have completed their undergraduate degrees at UMKC, and nearly 70 percent of the program’s alumni live in the Kansas City area.

The other ongoing scholarship matching program offered through the UM System is designed to create need-based scholarships for financially qualified undergraduate students. The $2 million program announced in March will create 100 endowed scholarships across the system’s four campuses, including 30 that UMKC is eligible to match.

Blackwelder said the foundation already has raised funds to match 28 of those scholarships. The state will match private funds in multiples of $20,000. The 30 new endowed scholarships could begin making distributions of $1,800 annually as early as the 2013-2014 academic year.

Donors who have provided matching funds to create an endowed scholarship are giving students the chance to earn a top university education — a chance they might not have without the financial help scholarships provide.

“When my family and the Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation learned about the need-based matching scholarship program, we saw it as a great opportunity to leverage our dollars for the benefit of UMKC School of Education students,” said Peter W. Brown, a Kansas City attorney who serves as trustee of the Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation.  “We wanted to help academically talented, low-income students pursue a degree in education at UMKC, and the matching scholarship program allowed us to do just that — and double the impact of our gifts.”