Surprise Gift a Boost for Student Relief Fund
By Eric Breier
President Ellen Neufeldt has been holding virtual town halls as part of her ongoing commitment to keep both the campus and community updated about Cal State San Marcos’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But nothing could have prepared Neufeldt for the pleasant surprise that she received near the end of a session with members of CSUSM councils and advisory boards on April 2.
Longtime university supporters Carleen Kreider and Dick Lansing announced a $25,000 challenge grant in support of CSUSM’s newly created Student Relief Fund.
“This gift is so generous and means so much to our students,” Neufeldt said. “I can’t thank Carleen and Dick enough. They are a shining example of the generosity that’s happening in so many places at this unprecedented time.”
For Kreider and Lansing, the gift is all part of their ongoing commitment to helping CSUSM students.
“Carleen and I are strong believers in the power of education to open doors and enable dreams,” Lansing said. “At this moment in time, the need has never been greater. We cannot let this crisis prevent students from completing their CSUSM education.”
The contributions of Kreider and Lansing go beyond their financial support. Kreider is a member of CSUSM’s Foundation Board and an executive in residence for CSUSM’s College of Business Administration, while Lansing is a Senior Experience adviser and member of the CoBA Dean’s Advisory Board. Both are also dedicated mentors to CSUSM students.
“We believe deeply in the unique and powerful mission of the university and are pleased to be able to make this challenge gift to inspire others to join us now to support our students,” Kreider added.
The university started the Student Relief Fund to help students through this extraordinary period of uncertainty. The fund opened with $300,000 in seed money, which came from a combination of annual fund support as well as scholarship support raised at the university’s annual gala.
For every gift that comes in to the Student Relief Fund, 10% goes straight to ASI’s Student Emergency Fund, which provides assistance to students who encounter unforeseen financial emergencies or catastrophic events that disrupt their progress toward a degree. The ASI Student Emergency Fund – a collaboration among Student Affairs, University Advancement and ASI – awards up to $250 per student. The Student Emergency Fund recently received an additional $50,000 that was transferred from University Advancement’s annual fund.
The Student Relief Fund has flexibility to shift focus based on student needs, but is currently targeting tuition and fee assistance. CSUSM’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is identifying students who need immediate support through outreach efforts as well as referrals from ASI and the Cougar Care Network.
Through April 7, the Student Relief Fund had received 119 gifts and raised nearly $60,000, which includes the match from Kreider and Lansing. About 75% of donors are CSUSM employees.
“Donors to the Student Relief Fund are providing critical support for students facing extreme financial hardship,” said Cathy Baur, vice president of University Advancement. “Every donation helps a student in need, and this much-needed support will help them persist beyond these circumstances and make an immediate and lasting impact.”
Visit the Student Relief Fund website for more information or to make a donation.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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