UI Foundation's campaign to fund students' education

BY REBECCA MORIN | MAY 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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Aly Olson will graduate from the University of Iowa debt-free.

Olson, a UI sophomore and Des Moines native, thanks the UI Foundation for entirely funding her undergraduate education through a privately funded Presidential Scholarship.

She spoke to donors about her experience with the UI Foundation this past weekend, and helped to organize the second Phil’s Day.

“I spoke to the staff campaign to encourage staff to encourage them to make donations to the foundation,” she said. “And I actually had the opportunity to sing and was able to perform for them.”

The UI Foundation unveiled its newest fundraising campaign, titled For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa, on May 2. Olson is just one example of the students the UI Foundation will help throughout the eight-year fundraising effort.

The campaign aims to reach a goal of $1.7 billion and goes through to December 2016, said Dan Sandersfeld, the director of creative services at the foundation. Roughly $1 billion has been raised since 2008.

The foundation hopes to accomplish three main goals through the campaign, one of which includes educating the students at the UI.

Olson hopes to spread the word to students and to donors about the benefits of philanthropy and giving to the university.

She is just one individual to speak out to her classmates about how she has benefited from the foundation and what they could do to help, UI Foundation President and CEO Lynette Marshall said.

“Aly and lots of other students helped throughout the year by hosting activities, and they helped with planning and decorating for Phil’s Day,” she said.

Through the help of the foundation, Olson was also able to study abroad in Brazil. She also has a monthlong internship in North Carolina at Wake Forest University.

“The staff with the foundation helped with recommendation letters and gave me advice with applying to internships,” Olson said. “They tried to educate us as much as possible about what to do when applying for internships.”

One main way students got involved was through the UI Foundation’s Student Philanthropy Initiative. Olson was also involved Student Philanthropy Group, Sandersfeld said.

The Student Philanthropy Group, launched in 2007, aims to bring awareness of philanthropy among students campus-wide. The group has grown from 15 students last year to approximately 24 students this year.

Through the organization, Olson said, she and other members helped with Phil’s Day and also talked to donors and students.

“We aim to make students more aware and also help them make connections with potential donors,” Olson said. “We also want to show donors what is happening on campus and what we are doing as students.”

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