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University of Missouri

Colorado Shows Chapter Endowment is Possible

Colorado MAA chapter starts a new endowed scholarship.

Denver skyline

The Rocky Mountain Tigers alumni chapter, headquartered in Denver, has started a new endowed scholarship fund for local students. Shutterstock.

Each year, the Rocky Mountain Tigers chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) awards $4,000 in scholarships to local students who are Mizzou-bound. The funds flow from the MAA as a benefit of achieving capstone status, which denotes high-achieving chapters whose activities help move the association toward its goals. But they wanted more. As part of a growing trend, the Rocky Mountain Tigers are among the 10 chapters during the past five years who have established their own endowments to benefit MU students. Why stop at $4,000 if you can give $5,000 or $6,000?

Chapter board members had talked for years about establishing an endowed scholarship, but during their summer planning retreat in 2014, they turned talk into action. They held a conference call with the MAA’s director of annual giving and membership (now Robyn Kollar, kollarr@missouri.edu) to learn what actions they needed to take.

The board members themselves have pledged more than half of the $25,000 minimum to start an endowed fund, and the membership has more than backed them up, pushing their fundraising to more than $31,000 in less than a year. Their goal is to raise $50,000 over three years, which would fund $2,000 in annual scholarships.

Chapter President Rusty Martin, BS CiE ’84, says it took a mindset change to go from event programming alone to also thinking about opportunities to raise money at their events.

The new focus on fundraising diversified the chapter’s programming, mixing in more cultural events such as a Broadway show and a lecture.

The new events, in turn, drew out new alumni, says fundraising co-chair Doug Link, BS EE ’09. “We’ve had a larger presence of members who typically aren’t involved in the watch parties and social events, but they’ve been excited about the scholarship and came out of the woodwork.”

“People feel good that they’re helping local students,” Martin says.