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Put Your Name On a Scholarship Not a Building, It Will Last Longer

(an open letter to future alumni)

Dear Future Alumni:

As a current student, many of you are probably scrounging and hoarding every last dollar that you have just to make it through college with the shirt on your back. I certainly applaud you for your efforts and I want you to take a couple of minutes to reflect upon these times. This phase of your life is a good character building moment. You are acquiring life lessons and stories in which I am sure you will pass onto your kids and your kids’ kids.

The other reason that I want you to remember this moment is a little more philanthropic in nature.  As you graduate from college and find your successes in the world, I want you to remember all the sacrifices that you made during your college years and think about giving back to others that may be experiencing a similar situation.

I would like to reflect upon a recent donation from Norman Levan to Bakersfield College. He has been a long-time supporter of Bakersfield and just recently contributed a little over 10 million dollars to their financial aid/scholarship program.  Even though we might not all find ourselves in the same financial arena as Dr. Norman, I like his approach on giving. He may be 95 years old, but at that age he still understands the importance of providing our youth with the opportunity of obtaining a quality education.

So, if you are ever in a position to help future students and scholars, I would recommend that you think about utilizing one of the following methods.

  • Most cities have some sort of foundation established that helps to serve as a gateway for donors to give back to the communities in which they reside. If you like, you can set up a new scholarship program or donate to an existing one that the foundation manages.
  • The next time your alma mater is initiating a capital campaign and reaching out to you for a donation, please consider setting up a scholarship fund with the school. I know that it is probably not as glamorous as securing naming rights on an academic building but you can be assured that after 50-100 years, the scholarship fund will still be in existence. However, if you can afford to do both, I am certain students will enjoy the scholarship fund and the state-of-the-art academic building as well! 😉
  • Pull a Bill Gates (Gates Foundation)… If you have enough discretionary capital (cash) you can always establish your own foundation to support deserving college students. This is a great approach for those that like to be more involved with how their funds are helping others.

Even though the examples above may be geared for donors that have a greater capacity to give, every little bit helps. If you can’t provide support in the methods above, maybe you can consider the following:

No matter how large or small your contribution may be for future scholars, please know that you are supporting a good cause. Your gift of promoting the education of others is an investment that will be repaid ten-fold (in the form of warm-fuzzies and knowing that you are making the world a better place).


Doug Schantz

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One Response to “Put Your Name On a Scholarship Not a Building, It Will Last Longer”


  1. […] last week I posted an article that was meant to encourage people to consider donating to a scholarship fund or find some way in which they could contribute to the […]