The leadership of Butler’s Black Alumni Association (BAA) recently issued a dollar-for-dollar matching gift challenge to donors during the University’s Day of Giving in support of the Black Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship, which received an enthusiastic response from more than 60 donors. Together, donors contributed $11,225 for the scholarship during the University-wide giving event in February, pushing the current balance of the endowment to more than $220,000.
Since it was established in 2006, the Black Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship has distributed more than $42,000 in support of deserving scholarship recipients. The scholarship was created to provide support for Black students with financial need at Butler, with the secondary goal of communicating and demonstrating support to current Black students from the Black alumni community. The matching gift challenge was sponsored by former Black Alumni Association leaders Kimberly Sterling, PharmD ’00, Delia Askew Harris ’99, and Alana Washington, PharmD ’01, MBA ’20.
“I am so grateful for our alumni leadership who stepped forward to fund this challenge and for each donor who contributed on Day of Giving,” Brittany Smiley ‘07, Chair of the Black Alumni Association Steering Committee, said. “We are proud to shine a light on this scholarship fund and to send a message of support to all current and future Black students at Butler that they are surrounded by an alumni network rooting for their success.”
The group’s Day of Giving Challenge was organized in part to celebrate and announce the return of the Black Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship to Butler after several years of being administered by the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). Jeremiah Jackson ʼ25 is the current recipient of the scholarship pursuing a degree in Health Science.
“To me, this scholarship means that there are Black alumni out there that want to support me and see me grow at Butler University,” Jackson said. “I am extremely appreciative of the people who donated! This scholarship helps my family out so much, and I am so grateful for the people that help me attend this amazing institution.”
Central to the University’s Butler Beyond strategic direction is a priority to create an intentionally diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning and working environment in keeping with Butler’s founding mission. Embedded within this priority is a commitment to fostering a sense of belonging for a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff, and providing more resources, including increasing scholarship support, for underrepresented students.
“I am grateful for the leadership of our Black alumni in returning this scholarship to Butler and for the many donors who accepted the gift challenge,” Khalilah Shabazz, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, said. “As we continue to identify and implement ways to attract, retain and support our Black students, initiatives like the Black Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship help propel that priority forward. How truly impactful for our former Black students to continue to pave the way for the Black students coming behind them.”
In 2022-23, Butler University awarded approximately $87.5 million in financial aid to students, approximately $5.5 million of which was funded through donor gifts. Endowed scholarships help to provide a steady stream of support to sustain the University’s financial aid program and put a Butler education within reach of all students, regardless of financial circumstance. Scholarships like the Black Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship in particular, with criteria stating a preference for underrepresented students, support the University’s goal of attracting, enrolling, and supporting students from marginalized and/or underrepresented backgrounds and identities.
“We are thrilled that the Black Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship will once again be housed and administered by Butler University,” Danny Kibble, Executive Director of Advancement for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives & Family Philanthropy, said. “The Black Alumni Association is our longest-standing alumni identity community with a great history of commitment to making Butler a better place for all Bulldogs. This scholarship is just one example among many of the ways our alumni have taken a leadership role in caring for our students and fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging at Butler.”
If you are interested in learning more about getting involved with Butler’s alumni identity communities or how you can philanthropically support Butler’s efforts to create an intentionally diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning and working environment, please contact Danny Kibble at firstname.lastname@example.org.