Gates donation helps Heritage reach scholarship fund goal

A major gift to Heritage University has allowed it to reach its goal of creating a $1.5 million endowment for Native American student scholarships.

The university received a $650,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; it will be combined with matching funds from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation (JSF) and other private donors to create the endowment which supports scholarships for indigenous students studying business or entrepreneurship.

In 2016, Heritage and JSF set the endowment fundraising effort in motion when Heritage committed to raising $1 million in three years and JSF pledging matching funds of $500,000.

“This generous gift means so much to us at Heritage University,” Heritage President Dr. Andrew Sund said. “This new scholarship program will change the lives and narratives of so many deserving Native students for years to come.”

“I am so grateful for this wonderful show of support,” president’s liaison for Native American Affairs at Heritage University Dr. Maxine Janis said. “This support, coupled with the contributions from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, as well as gifts from many, many donors in the community will help us provide a pathway for our Native American students to achieve their educational and career goals.”

Kip Ramsey, Yakama Nation tribal member, entrepreneur and Heritage University board member, says Native Americans are underrepresented in nearly every sector of the American economy, and JSF scholarships will increase the numbers of Native Americans in the business world.

“Education is the great equalizer, and this scholarship endowment will allow more Native American students to earn their business degrees and thrive,” he said.

The strategic intent of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation is to provide scholarship funding to Native Americans studying business and/or entrepreneurship under the theory that those men and women will then draw from their education to start business enterprises.



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