Reunion gifts becoming tradition

Class giftFoster leaves a lasting impression. Alumni don’t just walk away with a degree. They walk away with the experience of a lifetime…and a lifelong commitment to the School.

That’s why the MBA class of 1980 celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005 by pooling funds to make a combined gift of over $37,000—more than double the total of individual gifts made the class the year before.

Since then other classes have followed suit. In every case, the collective totals have exceeded the amounts of previous years.

Although Foster structures the giving campaign, alumni like Coreen Nickerson (MBA 1996) and Kevin Scharpenberg (MBA 2006) pitch in to add their personal touch that makes the giving much more generous.

Kevin said of his work to collect donations back in 2006: “In two years with 100-plus classmates, you develop a pretty tightly knit community.” He believed the class gift would connect the alumni to each other as much as it would connect them to the School. It also helped them give back to the community that supported and challenged them during their two intense years in the program.

Coreen continues to be involved with reunions and soliciting donations because she still feels so connected to her class: “I had such a good experience that it”s an easy way to continue to enjoy that experience.”

Just as Foster leaves a lasting impression, a class donation leaves a lasting legacy, one that benefits future MBA classes, and continues to unite alumni with each other and the School.

Mother’s wisdom, scholarship support lead to opportunity found

RatliffKiyosha_fullWho would have thought a girl destined to cashier at a fast-food restaurant would travel to Europe and work for a Big Four accounting firm?

Scholarships do more than make college affordable. They can open doors to a whole new world of opportunity. They can transform lives. Kiyosha Ratliff is living proof of that transformation.

The future went from bright to bleak when Kiyosha’s parents divorced, her father lost his job and her mother became ill. Given the family’s financial situation, college no longer seemed possible and Kiyosha seriously considered taking a second job at a fast food restaurant to help out. Her mother wouldn’t hear of it. She insisted her daughter head for the UW, but Kiyosha required serious scholarship support in order to pursue her dream of a college education.

Luckily she qualified for a suite of scholarships through Foster that became the lifeblood of her education and her personal development. The generous donations that fund the scholarships funded her chance to change her life.

As a result of these scholarships, Kiyosha excelled as an undergrad, advised small business owners, traveled abroad, mentored high school students, won numerous awards, attended a summer program at Harvard Business School and interned at Deloitte Consulting. These opportunities helped Kiyosha grow in many ways even beyond her education.

“The UW was such fertile soil for me, not only in gaining knowledge about the world around me, but also in developing leadership skills and gaining a broader perspective,” Kiyosha said. “Who would have believed that the same girl who wasn’t even going to go to college would have the opportunity to graduate from the UW, participate in a program at Harvard Business School and work for Big Four accounting firms? That’s what you call a transformation.”

And that change is made possible by families, companies and individuals who donate to Foster. Because of their willingness to give, students like Kiyosha can realize aspirations that would not have been attainable on their own.