|Like most academic institutions, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) receives millions of dollars each year in charitable gifts for scholarships, faculty support, research, and facilities. In fact, the college has more than 1,200 individual funds and initiatives that donors may choose to support. Yet nearly 75% of all gifts to NSM go to the same initiative each year: the NSM Learning. Leading. Fund.
The NSM Learning. Leading. Fund is a general-use fund established to support NSM operating expenses. Most people are familiar with the fund through annual telethon calls or mail campaigns from the university. Yet many people are still unfamiliar with its nature or accomplishments.
From March 2005 to March 2006, the NSM Learning. Leading. Fund received more than $50,000 in contributions, the result of 679 gifts from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends. The average gift to the fund was $74.63, and gifts ranged from
$5 to $1,000. First-time donors to the Learning. Leading. Fund—predominantly recent graduates—accounted for nearly 20% of all gifts. However, the majority of Learning. Leading. Fund donors were those who gave the previous year.
Traditionally, the Learning. Leading. Fund has been the primary means by which donors support the college’s operations and special projects. In the 2005 fiscal year, contributions to the Learning. Leading. Fund provided $5,500 in student scholarships. The fund also supported maintenance costs, faculty research expenses, and even protective laboratory gear. In past years the fund has also supported travel to conferences and professional meetings for faculty and students, as well as alumni activities.
This year, Dean John Bear has designated the Learning. Leading. Fund to provide for the college’s expansion into the new Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex (SERCC). “We’re building the fund’s balance to support our faculty and students who will move into the SERCC laboratories,” explained Bear. Among other endeavors, the new five-story research building will house the Institute for Molecular Design and some of the college’s leading faculty researchers in bionanotechnolgy. Moving their sophisticated equipment and research tools will require special attention.