UM Launches Most Ambitious Fundraising Campaign in its History

October 5, 2018

MISSOULA – Asia Caluori’s four years at the University of Montana were busy ones. A management information systems major, she served as a peer adviser, Mansfield Center intern and member of the MIS Association.

She was one of thousands of College of Business students who made use of the Gianchetta Student Success Center – a central office that provides advising, career development, graduate programs, internships and scholarship services for students.

As a senior, Caluori was encouraged by her business college mentors to compete for the Deborah McWhinney Emerging Leaders Fellowship Award. She received one of two competitive awards offered that year. The award ensured Caluori could relocate to San Francisco for a summer internship at KPMG, a financial services firm.

Receiving the fellowship made Caluori “want to conquer the world.” She is starting right here in Missoula.

When she returned from San Francisco last August, she landed a position at Advanced Technology Group, a Missoula firm recently acquired by Cognizant, a leading global provider of digital transformation services.

Across UM, philanthropy fuels student opportunity, research and learning. Donors think big about how their gifts can change lives. Collectively, their support shapes UM’s future in bold ways.

Today, UM announces the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history: Campaign Montana – Think Big. Be Bold.

This comprehensive, seven-year fundraising campaign aims to inspire $400 million in philanthropic giving by the end of 2020. Donors will help achieve UM President Seth Bodnar’s vision of a UM that puts student success at the forefront, driving excellence and innovation in teaching, research and learning.

Donors already have gifted and pledged $325 million for Campaign Montana. Gifts received since July 1, 2013, have been counted toward the campaign goal.

“Our ambitious goal reflects the passion our alumni and friends have for UM, our students and Montana,” Bodnar said.

Students, faculty and programs at every college and school on campus will benefit from private support. Priorities include scholarships, career development and advising, endowed faculty positions, interdisciplinary programs like the Neural Injury Center, and facility upgrades like the newly renovated Dennis and Gretchen Eck Hall.

“Now is the time for big thoughts and bold actions from our collective community,” said Bodnar. “UM is at an important juncture as we build upon our tremendous strengths and pursue new and promising directions.”

UM alumni Mark and Cheryl Burnham are serving as co-chairs of the Campaign Montana public phase. Mark graduated from the College of Business with a degree in accounting and finance, while Cheryl is a graduate of UM’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

Between them they have more than a dozen family members who are alums or associates of UM.

“History has shown that UM is a place where donors can make an incredible difference,” Cheryl Burnham said.

“The impact we’ve seen in the last five years alone is remarkable,” adds Mark Burnham.

“The opportunity to support students and elevate the lives of Montanans is what has inspired us to personally invest in UM.”

Since 2013, donors have created 15 new endowed faculty positions, helped renovate or construct five facilities, and given $100 million for scholarships and other student support.

During its five-year quiet phase, the campaign has inspired donations to all colleges and schools – as well as Grizzly Athletics, the Flathead Lake Biological Station and other programs – elevating giving to record levels. Last fiscal year alone, private support totaled $64 million, and the University of Montana Foundation distributed $41.7 million to campus for programs, scholarships and facilities.

UM’s last fundraising campaign, Invest in Discovery, raised $131 million. That and previous campaigns helped fuel scholarships, grow distinctive programs like Wildlife Biology, build the library’s collection and construct facilities, including the Davidson Honors College Building, the Gallagher Business Building, The Payne Family Native American Center, the Phyllis J. Washington Education Center and the Law Building.

The campaign is managed by the University of Montana Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization that inspires philanthropic support to enhance excellence and opportunity at UM.

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