TACOMA. — A new approach to fundraising at the University of Washington is benefiting a 10-year old summer math and science program for kids at UW Tacoma.
The Math-Science-Leadership (MSL) Program is the very first project to be launched on the USEED@UW portal, an official UW fundraising website that taps the power of donors’ social networks.
Leslie Kinkade, UW Tacoma’s director of development, says that the MSL Program is a perfect candidate for the concept of crowdfunding. “Every year, MSL is primarily funded by donations from the community. Past participants, parents, instructors and community members passionate about STEM education and nurturing college aspirations in local youth now have an opportunity to share this exceptional program with their social and professional networks.”
MSL is a free summer instructional camp for 7th through 12th graders, with a special focus on minorities, girls and kids from low-income families or those whose parents don’t have a college degree. Students in the program spend three weeks in intensive math and science courses, working with faculty from UW Tacoma and local science and math professionals. Each grade level focuses on a different theme, ranging from ecoscience and robotics to video game design and cybersecurity, and students are encouraged to return each summer through 12th grade to take full advantage of the program.
Amanda Bruner, UW Tacoma’s director of student transition programs and the manager of the MSL program, jumped at the chance to be the first project on UW’s new crowdfunding portal. She recruited four high-school students who’ve been through the MSL program to serve as project interns. They produced a video about MSL and wrote copy for fundraising emails and web pages.
The interns and other project participants use the USEED platform to send personal emails inviting their friends and family to learn about MSL and make a gift. Donors can share the news of their gift with their friends on Facebook. At that point, the viral nature of social media takes over, getting MSL noticed by groups who may not have any other connection to UW.
In its first 6 days, the MSL fundraising effort has brought in 42% of the initial $10,000 goal, and has attracted 54 supporters. All the money raised will go to the program, whether or not the campaign meets or exceeds its goal.
To learn more about MSL and make a gift, visit uw.useed.net/projects/115/home.