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Professor Endows Foster Youth Scholarship

Munger_JimWhen most people get a raise or find themselves with a little extra cash, they typically celebrate with a nice meal on the town or a luxury upgrade – say, trading in an old clunker for a slightly newer clunker (with moon roof!). But when biology professor and Vice Provost for Academic Planning Jim Munger found himself in that position earlier this year, he decided to do something a little different: help fund foster kids who want to earn an undergraduate degree at Boise State.

Through the Blue, Orange and You campaign – Boise State’s giving campaign for faculty, staff and emeriti – Munger set up an endowed scholarship for the Impact Scholars program on campus, which provides the structural support former foster kids need to graduate college. This includes job, housing and scholarship assistance, as well as a much-needed emotional support system for students who have no family or home to return to during school breaks and holidays. And, thanks to Munger’s gift, for the first time it will include financial assistance for students as well.

“The reason that faculty members get into this business, and it sounds trite, is to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Munger explained. “We educate people and we value that education and that means that whenever we have a population of students who are especially vulnerable, where the typical success rate is relatively low and they’re underrepresented as graduates, that becomes a place where if we put our energy, we can have maximum impact.”

Studies show that children who have been in foster care are more likely to go to jail or be jobless or homeless than they are to earn a college degree.

“Here’s a group that’s especially vulnerable — they don’t have the safety net that we take for granted,” Munger continued. “If we facilitate the graduation of one student who wouldn’t have graduated, that’s a huge accomplishment. That really changes that person’s life, that person’s family, and the community around them.

I’ve always talked about helping underrepresented kids and this gave me a chance to create something relatively substantial. These are the kids who aren’t thinking, ‘Which college do I go to?’ They’re thinking, ‘Can I go to college? Do I go to college?’ For me, it was a no brainer. I thought, ‘Here’s a place where you can have a huge impact.'”

Faculty and staff have raised more than $4.4 million in support in the past 10 years for scholarships, teaching resources and program enhancement. First time Blue, Orange and You donors are always welcome. Several venues are open for giving, making it simple for you: Use these easy pledge forms or secure online giving. Or you can set up automatic payroll deduction with myboisestate and PeopleSoft. Choosing which fund to support is simple, too — just visit give.boisestate.edu for a searchable list of choices.

Boise State faculty and staff members also may choose to establish an endowed scholarship at one-half of the minimum commitments and may make their pledge payments through payroll deduction. Usually, an endowed scholarship requires a minimum of $25 thousand. For faculty and staff, for a limited time, $1 million is available as matching funds for individual donors who establish Presidential and Dean’s Endowed Scholarships or any endowed scholarship funds at the minimum level of $12,500 or higher.

For more information on endowed scholarships, contact University Advancement at universityadvancement@boisestate.edu or (208) 426-3276.