JMU donors help Dukes stay Dukes

JMU alumni and friends contributed $750,000+ in May for emergency scholarships this fall.


JMU donors, with more than 1,300 generous gifts during May, ensured that more than 150 JMU students will be able to remain JMU Dukes. Together they gave more than $750,000 to Madison for Keeps scholarships—and now the Office of Financial Aid will be able to award these emergency funds to students this fall.

  • It began with a $10,000 gift from John (’92) and Julia Hinshaw, which led to more than 300 people rallying to provide emergency funds that will support critical JMU student needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Then Cheryl (’77), Connor, Lily (’22) and Randy Byrnes made a $25,000 challenge gift and spurred more than 30 other alumni to make challenge gifts to help raise money for Madison for Keeps emergency scholarships in May.
  • The Bennett family helped to illustrate the need for scholarships like this, sharing their story of dealing with the pandemic’s affect on their ability to keep two daughters in school at JMU
  • In one day (Giving Tuesday, May 5), donors contributed $500,000 to Madison for Keeps and inspired the university to raise the month-long goal to $750,000. Throughout May JMU donors posted challenges, and each were met and exceeded by their peers.
  • As we neared the end of the May campaign, Clair Blacketer (’10) showed the power of emergency scholarships, and the importance of her current work in battling the pandemic was later featured in Madison magazine.

Although the May 2020 challenge is over, you can still make a gift to support JMU students who need scholarships. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented increase in emergency scholarship requests that is expected to last for at least the next two academic years.

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