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The Agricultural Learning Center, for which Northwest broke ground last spring, is taking shape at the R.T Wright Farm and stands as a highlight of the Northwest Foundation's progress in FY20. (Photo by Jordan Piveral/Northwest Missouri State University)

The Agricultural Learning Center, for which Northwest broke ground last spring, is taking shape at the R.T Wright Farm and stands as a highlight of the Northwest Foundation's progress in FY20. (Photo by Jordan Piveral/Northwest Missouri State University)

Oct. 27, 2020

Northwest Foundation reports successful FY20, awards record number of scholarships


Northwest Foundation Inc., the fundraising arm of Northwest Missouri State University, again achieved a high level of scholarship distributions and secured $5.08 million in donor funding during Fiscal Year 2020.

Scholarship support remains a central mission of the Foundation, which awarded $1.11 million in financial assistance through 1,383 scholarships during FY20. With increases for the second consecutive year, those numbers represent the highest dollar amount awarded in the history of the Foundation as well as the highest number of donor-funded scholarships awarded.

Additionally, the Foundation’s success parallels with its Forever Green campaign, which launched publicly in October 2019 with a goal of raising $45 million for University initiatives centered on academic excellence, scholarships, student life and other donor-directed gifts. The campaign, which will close next spring, has raised more than $49 million to date.

Dr. Lonelle Rathje, the vice president of external relations at Northwest and executive director of the Northwest Foundation, expressed her thanks to the thousands of donors and volunteers who have supported the Forever Green Campaign and bolstered opportunities for the University’s students.

“The value of a Northwest education resonates with our donors and volunteers, and they have remained steadfast with Northwest even throughout a global pandemic,” Rathje said. “To each of you, our gratitude for ensuring that Northwest shines bright in its mission of student success.”

Eighty-five percent of the total funds raised by the Foundation during FY20 were cash gifts, and 3,914 donors contributed. The Foundation’s total assets under management increased 2.22 percent to $39.07 million, while its endowment stands at more than $27 million. In FY20, the Foundation provided more than $4 million to the University to support various needs while the Foundation’s University support during the last four years totals nearly $20 million.

“The Foundation is so grateful for the generosity of our alumni and friends,” Dr. Bob Burrell, the president of the Foundation Board of Directors, said. “Earning the trust and confidence of our donors is our highest priority. We recognize and appreciate the passion our donors have for Northwest, and we manage the donations received with equal passion and care. The Foundation is dedicated to making certain our funds are secure and managed in a manner that reflects the will of our generous donors.”

Among the year’s highlights, Northwest broke ground on its Agricultural Learning Center in April. Located on the 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm, the new 29,000-square-foot multipurpose facility will help enhance the School of Agricultural Sciences and its curriculum by providing laboratory, kitchen and exposition space as well as classrooms and offices while helping it meet enrollment and program growth. Supporters interested in donating toward the facility may do so by visiting www.nwmissouri.edu/ForeverGreen/AgCenter/support.htm.

Further illustrating the Foundation’s growth in FY20, The 1905 Society, which recognizes supporters who make an annual unrestricted gift of $1,000 or more, counted 154 members. Meanwhile, the Foundation’s annual giving program raised $356,000 in FY20.

In addition to its annual giving programs and donor stewardship, the Northwest Alumni Association drew more than 21,000 attendees to more than 300 engagement activities. Due to COVID-19, all spring and summer events were moved to virtual events or canceled. In place of in-person events, alumni leaders across the country recorded videos to share via social media and welcome incoming students to Northwest. Volunteers also provided about 1,900 hours of service to the University last year, a total estimated value of nearly $45,000. Northwest counts more than 80,000 alumni and friends of the University as members of the Alumni Association.

Last April, for the sixth consecutive year, Northwest students celebrated alumni and friends who contribute generously to the University in support of scholarships, campus facilities and the value of a college degree during “Thank a Donor Day.” Although, Northwest hosted the activities online amid restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event maintained its mission to educate Northwest students about the importance of charitable giving by alumni, family and friends.

In an effort to assist Northwest students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University collaborated with the Foundation to launch a campaign that directly assists students in need. As many students were affected by the loss of income, changes to their housing arrangements and other obstacles because of COVID-19, donations to the Bearcats Helping Bearcats Campaign supported the Pay It Forward Fund and the Bearcat Food Pantry, making an immediate and impactful difference to the students. Donations are still being accepted and can be made online by visiting www.nwmissouri.edu/alumni/giving/bearcatshelpingbearcats.htm.

The Northwest Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, develops and stewards philanthropic resources for the benefit of the Northwest Missouri State University and its students. It is governed by a 35-member volunteer board and staffed by members of Northwest’s Office of University Advancement.

To make a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/GiveOnline.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704