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We need to help Dukes stay Dukes


UPDATE: May 7, 2020 — It took less than 24 hours to rise to this challenge meant for the entire month of May. This extraordinary donor response and increasing financial aid appeals mean Madison for Keeps fundraising continues with a new goal of $750,000 so that 150 Dukes stay Dukes. read more.

The following communication was sent to the JMU community on May 4. 

Fellow members of the JMU community,

This is a serious moment.

As JMU faculty, staff and students complete a most extraordinary semester this week, I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. For each of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a change in our personal and professional routines. And for some, the impact has been even more severe: job loss, reduced income, illness or worse have struck some of our JMU families. Many JMU students are not sure how they will afford to return in the fall.  In fact we have already received 142 requests for emergency aid due to job and income loss, and the number grows each day.

Today, you can offer hope for these students. 

We are relaunching Madison for Keeps, the JMU emergency scholarship fund that successfully saved 108 students from dropping out of school during the Great Recession in 2009-10. Starting now, in time for tomorrow’s global Giving Tuesday COVID-19 response, and continuing through the end of the month, Madison for Keeps aspires to help at least 100 Dukes stay Dukes this fall!  

A generous and devoted group of donors will help us launch this effort by matching—dollar for dollar—the first $250,000 given to Madison for Keeps. With their initial $25,000 gift challenge, Cheryl ('77) and Randy Byrnes and their family inspired us to rally the JMU faithful behind this effort, and before long, the group grew to include alumni such as Kim (‘80) and Craig Bram (’80), Enrico and Danielle Gaglioti (‘94), Brian (‘86) and Mary Jo Hogan, Jeff (‘90) and Robin Tickle, the JMU Board of Visitors, the JMU Foundation Board, the JMU Alumni Association, and the Women for Madison Executive Advisory Council. We understand times are tough for so many in the JMU family. But if you are in position to help, please consider making your gift today and these donors will double your impact.

The devotion of these donors, many of them leaders with whom I work every day, is heartening.  While uncertainty is so prevalent today in almost every aspect of life, it’s good to know one thing is certain: Dukes always will support Dukes the best we can. 

If we all pull together, I believe we can not only achieve this, we can exceed our $500,000 goal... Remember that many current JMU students are counting on us.  This is your chance to keep a Duke a Duke and help them get back on track with their journey to the commencement stage.  Let’s do this, JMU!

With Gratitude, 

Nick Langridge (‘00, ‘07M, ‘14Ph.D)
Vice President for University Advancement

Please note: The federal CARES Act, which will benefit both JMU and students, will help. My colleagues in the office of Financial Aid will be providing details on how CARES Act funds will be distributed in the coming days. And while this will be an aid to many, CARES Act dollars can help a limited number of students with recouping past expenses directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Consequently, a significant need remains as the CARES Act provides no funds for financial aid going forward, meaning no help with tuition for students who cannot return this fall without such assistance. For these students, private donor funding is the best hope for returning to JMU.

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Published: Monday, May 4, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2020

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