American Indian College Fund Raises More Than $1 Million At 25th Anniversary Gala in New York City
DENVER — The American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) kicked off its 25th anniversary celebration and fundraising efforts with a black-tie gala that raised more than$1 million to benefit Native American education. The gala was held October 20, 2014 at Pier Sixty in New York City and was the largest and most successful fundraising event in the organization’s 25-year history. The funds raised at this event will help provide up to 700 scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native students.
Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, announced the organization has set a goal to increase current graduation rates to 60% by 2025 at its 34 tribal colleges and universities across the country.
A college preparedness program and revamping of the scholarship opportunities process are also in development, and a lofty goal has been set to serve 200,000 students by the year 2020, which would double the number of students served by the College Fund in its first 25 years. Unique efforts are underway to encourage the pursuit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers in order to increase earning opportunities as well, with a lead gift supporting these efforts recently acquired.
“We want to help every Native American in the communities we serve whose goal is to attain a higher education,” said Dr. Crazy Bull. “The major obstacle facing our students is a financial one. Too many Native Americans are leaving their dreams – and their potential – behind. Currently only one in 20 of our applicants can afford to go to college without financial assistance. We can change these statistics while making a substantial impact not just on our students’ lives, but on the lives of their families and the people in their communities.”
In the past 25 years, the College Fund has awarded more than 100,000 scholarships, touching the lives of tens of thousands of students and their families. In 2013 alone, the College Fund distributed nearly $6 millionin scholarship and program support to help more than 4,000 students.
As the College Fund celebrates its 25 year of service to providing Native Americans greater access to higher education, it is also looking forward to the future for ways to improve graduation rates for disadvantaged students and also build strong, prosperous tribal communities and nations, which all ultimately improve the quality of life for all people and hugely impact our country as a whole.
Guests were also treated to a special performance by Tony-award winning Broadway powerhouse vocalist Idina Menzel. VIP sponsors for the event also enjoyed an after-party with Ms. Menzel. Emmy-award winning television journalist David Ushery, who co-anchors the weekend editions of NBC 4’s “News 4 New York” and the creator and host of “The Debrief with David Ushery,” served as the event emcee.