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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

October 31, 2018
Melina Armstead

Two hundred is the lucky number. Two hundred lives, two hundred educational paths, two hundred potential thoughts of imposter syndrome, and a multitude of familial pressures are what CAA’s five-person Alumni Scholars Program team support on a daily basis. For the 2018–19 academic year, the Alumni Scholars Program is supporting 200 new and returning students in The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) and The Kruttschnitt Aspire Scholarship Program (KASP), as well as more than 650 recipients of The Leadership Award (TLA).

At some point in time, programs have to ask themselves, what is our capacity? What can we do to change lives? Are we being effective? How can we pay for this? For the first time in almost 20 years, the Alumni Scholars Program is at a point of tremendous growth and now faces these questions. In 1999, TAAP was birthed by a strong set of influencers passionate about the constant and consistent growth of a diverse student body at Cal. TAAP began with a cohort of 15 students, but now serves 109 students. In 2009, the Equity Scholarship served 10 students. Today, as KASP, it serves 91.

You might ask, “How can CAA afford to support 200 TAAP and KASP students with $6,000 scholarships and $2,500 in programmatic costs?” Great question! Without you, our donors, we would not be able to impact more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Our programs continue to grow and serve the amazing students at Cal because of your generous philanthropic gifts.

In 2017, TAAP received one of the largest current-use gifts ever given: $680,000 from alumna Mary M. Tuncer ’63. While endowments, like bequests, are the gift of perpetuity, current-use gifts allow us to do immediate work now. Tuncer’s current-use gift allows her to support 24 students today.

On February 13, 2018, Theodore (Ted) Kruttschnitt ’64 announced he would increase the KASP cohort by 40%, supporting another 35 students. Since 2014, Kruttschnitt has given over $1.2 million to CAA’s Alumni Scholarships for KASP, an award that is strictly for underrepresented students at Cal.

As we continue meeting donors where they are in their philanthropic goals, we simultaneously meet our students’ needs. Donor Martin “Marty” Blank ’63, J.D. ’66 gifted $12,500 in the summer of 2017 to the new CAA Alumni Scholarships Fund, to send incoming TAAP and KASP students to the Lair of the Golden Bear for their Alumni Scholars Program Welcome Retreat. From that gift 37 Alumni Scholars, many of whom never may have had the funds to enjoy the Lair, experienced camp for the first time.

CAA’s goal is to ensure that the experience our Alumni Scholars have, and the support they receive, is holistic. It’s important to me to support the Alumni Scholars Program in doing this. Our donors give wholeheartedly, but as our program grows, the reality is that we need more to do more. Please consider making a gift that brings overarching support to our Alumni Scholars through the CAA Alumni Scholarships Fund.

Warmest regards,
Melina Armstead
Director, Donor Relations