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Nannes Challenge 

Nannes 3L Challenge Promotes Giving Back to MLaw

By Amy Spooner
Sept. 26, 2014

Amid the myriad challenges and busyness of law school, it can be easy for students to overlook the role that philanthropy plays in day-to-day life at Michigan Law. For the next two weeks, the Nannes 3L Challenge will keep the importance of private support front and center.

Each fall, the Nannes 3L Challenge provides students with an opportunity to begin giving back to the Law School, to gain experience in philanthropy before leaving campus, and to see the direct impact of their gifts on campus life. Through the Challenge—which was conceived and is funded by John Nannes, '73, a partner in Skadden Arp's Washington office—3Ls can designate $250 to the Law School student activity of their choice in exchange for their commitment to make a contribution to the Law School in each of the first four years after they graduate.

"The benefit that the Nannes Challenge provides to student organizations is wonderful, but the benefit that consistent alumni giving provides to the Law School as a whole is even better," says 3L GeDa’ Jones, co-chair of the Nannes Challenge Committee. "We want to get all students—1Ls, 2L, and 3Ls—interested in and excited about philanthropy from Day 1. We’re not just challenging the 3Ls; we are challenging everyone to spread the word and start thinking about their commitment to alumni giving."

Most gifts made by recent graduates benefit the Law School Fund​, which is the Law School’s annual source of expendable support. Law School Fund resources are used to impact many aspects of life at Michigan Law, including scholarships, summer fellowships, experiential learning opportunities, faculty recruitment and retention, and student organizations. Building awareness of the Fund’s importance is a key goal of the Nannes Challenge. "Encouraging graduates to give back to the MLaw community is what will keep our school vital and competitive in the current legal market, and awareness of the importance of contribution needs to be heightened when we are still students," says committee member Vanessa Johnson, a 3L.

The Challenge is open to the first 200 3Ls who sign up, and there is friendly rivalry among students to get their friends to commit to the Challenge and designate funds to their favorite organizations—so that the money will be available to students during their last year of Law School.

"1Ls are getting involved in student organizations and attending the events that they sponsor. 2Ls, for the most part, lead the student organizations, so they are all too aware of budget concerns and the importance of Nannes funding," says co-chair Silke Watson, a 3L. "The Nannes Challenge is an integral part of MLaw culture."

The Challenge also reinforces the fact that that MLaw culture lasts a lifetime. "We have all benefited from the generous donations made to the University of Michigan Law School," says Jones. "We want to make sure that we pay it forward."

This year’s Nannes Challenge kicks off on Monday, Sept. 29, and closes on Friday, Oct. 10. Nannes committee members will be available during lunchtime in Aikens Commons to answer questions and accept signed Challenge forms. In addition to Johnson, Jones, and Watson, this year’s Nannes committee includes 2L David Angel and 3Ls Sarah Duffy, Wyatt Fore, Emerson Girardeau, Samantha Hall, Erika Kaneko, Maria Litsakis, Zachary Morgenstern, Freya Riedlin, Michael Spitulnik, and Jared Sugerman.

Learn more about the Nannes 3L Challenge.

Read more feature stories.​​​​​

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