Pictured from left to right: Front row: Lydia Allen, Susan Randolph and Hilary Wheat; Middle row: Lindsay Hummer, Minda Mason, Emily Darling, Abbey Ambrose, Krista Allen, Matt Rhea, Becci Blaesing, Lorie Worner and Liz Greer; Back row: Gretchen Hess, Robin Atchity, Andy Morrison, Ryan Butts and Peggy Person.
One fall afternoon in 2016, a group of co-workers at KU Endowment’s office in Kansas City were inspired by a discussion on a daily walk to make a meaningful difference in a new way. In the spirit of our mission — to build a greater University of Kansas — Matt Rhea, Krista Allen and former employee Ted Kimble came up with the idea of creating a scholarship to support the education of our future health care workers. The group believed fellow teammates would get behind contributing to a common fund to provide extra impact.
They presented the concept to their colleagues, and the KU Endowment Outstanding Health Care Scholarship was born. The decision was made to make the scholarship available to students with academic merit from all three schools — medicine, nursing and health professions. “When I learned what my colleagues were proposing, of course, I wanted to participate,” said longtime staff member Mary Jo Williams. “Scholarships are of the utmost importance, and I really liked the idea of supporting all KU Medical Center students.”
The team followed the example of another colleague, who along with a friend from college, established a scholarship to support undergraduate KU students. She was taking advantage of KU Endowment’s Matching Gift Program to help grow the fund. Employee donations are eligible for a one-to-one matching contribution up to $5,000 per year.
Employees and family members have made gifts to the fund through the years, and the staff always makes a point to invite new hires to participate. So far, there have been 26 donors to the KU Endowment Outstanding Health Care Scholarship. The scholarship became fully endowed in May 2022 and will support health care students in perpetuity. “We were so excited to do this and elated when it became endowed,” Allen said. “Philanthropy is not only what we do, but a big part of who we are. Practice what you preach after all!”