Nov 20 2014


As the fall semester kicked into gear, the T-shirts began to show up everywhere. They read “Montana Strong” in Grizzly maroon and silver. Just another piece of UM swag? Not quite.

The T-shirts are part of a much larger fundraising effort launched by the University of Montana Foundation. The new effort, called the Student Foundation, aims to increase awareness among students of the value of philanthropy. This year, the group will raise money to create a scholarship for students with financial need, to be awarded for the 2015-16 academic year.

That’s where the T-shirts come in. For every $15 gift, students receive a Montana Strong shirt to show their pride for and support of their school. UPTOP, a clothing company owned by UM alumni Colt and Luke Anderson, designed and donated the T-shirts.

Student Foundation supporters
“Private support from alumni and friends allows UM to continue to attract great students and faculty who keep the University of Montana strong,” said Adam Johnson, a member of the volunteer Student Foundation committee. “It is important to build this culture of philanthropy early, starting with students.”

Though it’s still in its infancy, the Student Foundation already has raised $2,840. Molly Adamson, who manages the program, expects that number to increase as more students learn about the impact of giving.

“Even a small gift – $10 or $15 – adds up,” Adamson said. “Together UM students can show they care about each other and their school.”

Student giving societies are a growing trend at colleges nationwide, as universities recognize that students who are involved with philanthropy while on campus will be more likely to give back as alumni. Students also have rallied around the idea of raising funds to support their own.

Donations can be made on campus at the UM Foundation offices in Brantly Hall or online at T-shirts are available for pick up at Brantly.

The Student Foundation is launching several promotions and giveaways over the next few weeks for its donors. The Student Foundation Committee will be handing out bags of popcorn in the University Center on Friday, Nov. 21, in celebration of the Brawl of the Wild Griz-Cat football game. They also will have Montana Strong shirts available in time for Saturday’s game. Visit the group’s Facebook page at or follow them on Twitter (@UM_Studs) to learn more.

UM students are no strangers to giving back. The Student Foundation will replace the Senior Class Gift Campaign, which in years past has funded solar panels for the Farm to College program greenhouse behind the Lommasson Center, the greenhouse itself, a campus map installed at the M on Mount Sentinel, benches, trees and bike racks.