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UMKC fundraising surpasses goal by raising $302.5 million

Cheer squad members Kylie Rifkin (left), school mascot Kassey Roo, and Austin Hass held up the numbers $302,534,370 — the amount the University of Missouri-Kansas City raised over seven years in private contributions for capital projects, faculty support and scholarships.
Cheer squad members Kylie Rifkin (left), school mascot Kassey Roo, and Austin Hass held up the numbers $302,534,370 — the amount the University of Missouri-Kansas City raised over seven years in private contributions for capital projects, faculty support and scholarships. Special to the Star

The University of Missouri-Kansas City surpassed a goal set seven years ago by raising $302.5 million in private contributions for capital projects, faculty support and scholarships.

University Chancellor Leo Morton announced the result Thursday on the quadrangle before a crowd of about 100 people. The funding was more than 20 percent greater than the goal of $250 million, which was reached last year, a year ahead of schedule.

“That’s just the beginning, though,” Morton said, “because now it’s up to us, the students, faculty and staff to make the most of this wonderful investment that our community has made in us. We have a responsibility to leverage this investment to ensure it creates the maximum impact possible on the lives of people in this community now and for a long time into the future.”

Steven Norris, president of the UMKC Foundation, said the campaign wasn’t just about dollars and cents.

“It was about impact. It was about elevating Kansas City’s university and the community it serves to the next level,” he said.

Of the money raised, $20 million will go toward endowed chairs and faculty support, and $60 million will go toward scholarships for people like Sharon White-Lewis at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“Without this, I would not be able to have my education here or even have my education anywhere,” White-Lewis said.“So this has made it possible for me to obtain my Ph.D., and that’s amazing for me.”

The money also contributed to the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and it will provide the local match for the planned downtown campus for the arts and for the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

The campaign received more than 60,000 individual contributions in the last year alone. The UMKC faculty exceeded its goal by contributing $7 million.

Tom Hyde, co-chairman of the campaign along with Bob Regnier, said the results were “truly a game changer” for the university.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

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