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philanthropy_17_text.jpgPhilanthropy Awareness Day: Understanding the Ways Private Support Makes a Difference 

By Jordan Poll 
March 29, 2017

In the flurry of everyday activity, it can be easy to forget that the entire Michigan Law community is made better thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends. During Philanthropy Awareness Day, student leaders and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations work together to change that by taking a moment to talk about all the ways our Law students, faculty, and staff benefit from the private support of our donors.

Today, March 29, colorful balloons and signs fill the Quad. They highlight the many ways private support impacts the Law School, such as the fact that more than 700 students received scholarship support or summer funding from alumni gifts this past year.

Gifts from alumni and friends account for approximately one-third of the Law School's operating budget, and in addition to student scholarships and fellowships, they help fund faculty professorships, facilities, speakers, student organizations, and much more. The Law School has raised more than $125 million during the Victors for Michigan campaign, and it's important for the Michigan Law community to understand how philanthropy makes much of the Law School experience possible. "It is our hope that Philanthropy Awareness Day can humanize the private supporters of the Michigan Law community. Donors are not faceless. Private support comes from real people who care and want Michigan Law students to keep going out into the world and doing things," said 3L Szuwei Co, Nannes 3L Challenge Committee member and student attorney for the Michigan Innocence Clinic. "Donors are past (and present) generations who love this community and want to ensure that we keep the Michigan Difference, and its spirit of collegiality, going on into perpetuity."

This Philanthropy Awareness Day, development and alumni relations office staff are hosting tables outside of Aikens B. Commons, offering treats and "I Benefit" stickers to students who take time for a brief conversation about philanthropy. "This is a time for us to reflect on how lucky we are to have people who care so much that their goodwill extends to us, and for us to think about how we can do the same going forward," said Co. "All of us can keep adding something great, even if we don't all become millionaires or billionaires."

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