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The Gerber Grand Challenge in Philanthropy

"Augustana’s most important impact is being an engine for student transformation, and I am honored that we are receiving support to accelerate that important work and in turn supporting high-achieving students who can carry on the great tradition of Augustana alumni who make a difference.

We’re seeing even greater interest among high-achieving students who want to become leaders – in government, in business and in their communities – and who might not have felt that Augustana was accessible to them. Now we have more resources than ever before to make their dreams come true.”

– Augustana President Andrea Talentino

Gerber Challenge progress, Dec. 2022

In particular, The Gerber Grand Challenge in Philanthropy is a commitment made by alumnus Murry Gerber '75 for $40 million endowed financial aid for high-achieving students from low income backgrounds.

The Gerber Grand Challenge then fuels Augustana Possible. Augustana Possible has been offered to more than 600 prospective students who have stellar academic records and unmet financial needs, and all 600 are on track to enroll in the fall of 2023.

The commitment by Murry Gerber requires the college to find other donors interested in support of today’s and tomorrow’s Augustana students. Murray committed his $40 million, and the commitment outlines the gift as a dollar-for-dollar match until the full match has been achieved.

Opportunities for donors to participate in the Gerber Grand Challenge

Donors can make gifts that are matched 1:1 by Gerber Grand Challenge funds if they: 

Contribute to endowed financial aid

Any gift of any amount contributed to the endowment designated to financial aid will be matched dollar-for-dollar and will be awarded to students with demonstrated financial need. 

Establish a named endowed scholarship

A commitment of $12,500 (payable over a maximum of five years) will be matched to meet the named endowed scholarship threshold of $25,000. A named endowed scholarship can be set up to honor the donor or another individual but must consider financial need. 

Establish a named endowed scholarship with donor preferences for distribution

A commitment of $25,000 (payable over a maximum of five years) will be matched to meet the named endowed scholarship threshold with donor preference of $50,000. A named endowed scholarship with donor preferences can include criteria for awarding in addition to financial need. Preferences can include majors, involvement (non-athletic), geography, etc. 

Contribute to a qualifying existing endowed scholarship fund

Many of our nearly 745 endowed scholarship funds are eligible for the match. Any gift to these eligible funds will be matched dollar-for-dollar. 

Designate a portion of a quantified, undesignated estate commitment

Donors who have a quantified estate commitment, but have not designated the estate commitment may establish a qualified fund through a cash gift of $25,000 and then may designate up to $500,000 of a previously quantified estate gift to the scholarship. Legacy gifts that qualify will be reserved from Gerber matching funds.  

Accelerate funding of a previously established deferred gift for a qualified fund

Donors who have previously established an eligible fund through an estate intention can accelerate the deferred commitment by giving cash now – and that cash gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar. If the donor wishes, the college can subtract the amount of the cash gift from the deferred commitment as those gifts are received.

Establish an endowed scholarship fund through an estate commitment

Similar to the option described above, donors who are interested in establishing an estate commitment to be matched by the Gerber Grand Challenge can do so by establishing a qualified fund through a cash gift of $25,000 now. The estate commitment will flow into the scholarship when it is actualized. The cash amount will be matched and the commitment amount will be reserved from the matching Gerber fund. 

For more information, contact Kent Barnds.