Alumnae Luanne Rotticci (far left) and Liza Jane MacNaughton (center) founded the “Save Our Students” Scholarship Fund. Also pictured: SOS recipient and donor John Matthews and CSUEB President Leroy M. Morishita (far right).
California State University, East Bay has surpassed its $20,000 goal in its Save Our Students (SOS) Scholarship Challenge, raising $22,010 by June 30.
The SOS Scholarship program was launched at Cal State East Bay in August 2011 to provide scholarships for students who are close to graduating but are in danger of dropping out due to financial hardship.
The challenge began when the Scholarship's founding donors, Luanne (BS '87) and Edward Rotticci and Liza Jane (BA '90) and Malcolm MacNaughton, Jr., offered a challenge gift of $10,000 if CSUEB could raise $20,000 from alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends in just two months. To date, the challenge has raised enough to support an additional 22 SOS Scholarships for Fall 2014.
The efforts to meet the $20,000 challenge included outreach to selected alumni via phone calls, a Class of 2014 gift campaign for graduating students, and an email campaign. Additionally, stories about the challenge were posted in the Cal State East Bay Magazine, on CSUEB's website and via social media.
Gifts to the challenge campaign were raised from 115 donors — alumni, students, staff, and friends of the university — and ranged from $1 to $2,500. The supporters included university executives, members of the Educational Foundation Board of Directors and the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, Michael Jedlicka. Members of the Cal State East Bay Alumni Association also adopted the challenge, making personal gifts totaling more than $3,000 and encouraging graduating students to make gifts to build on existing alumni support.
The first gift to the SOS Scholarship Challenge came from SOS Scholarship recipient John Matthews (BS '13) and his wife. "The SOS Scholarship really does save students," Matthews says. "My wife and I lost our jobs and our home in the recession — forcing us to drain our retirement savings to support our family. Returning to school to complete my degree in industrial engineering was the best option. The SOS Scholarship kept me enrolled in my last year after I had exhausted every other option for paying my tuition. Shortly after graduation, I joined Tesla Motors as an engineer."
In the first two years of the scholarship, approximately $58,000 dollars were raised, allowing CSUEB to fund 56 scholarships. However, the number of applicants was six to seven times more than the available scholarship dollars. Eighty-nine students have applied for the current round of SOS Scholarships, and the University has funding for 35 scholarships so far. Any additional gifts to the SOS fund will be used to support more applicants. Gifts can be made here.