University of Mobile alumni Brady and Emily King earned their degrees in math and education, respectively, with the help of athletic scholarships. So when the 2014 graduates were deciding where to make a charitable contribution that would really make a difference, their own challenges of being student athletes came to mind. They prayed about the decision, and felt the Lord’s leading..
“The university gave so much to us, and we grew so much from that,” said Emily ’14. “We wanted to give back to someone else in the same situation we were in.”
They wanted to give an additional scholarship to a student who was already receiving an athletic scholarship. They knew from experience that an athletic scholarship alone would not cover all of the costs of college
“If only there was a way to receive another scholarship as well, it could have really helped us out,” explained Brady ’13.
At the time, Emily’s father Mark Kolakoski, worked in the Advancement Office as director of major gifts and raised funds for scholarships to the university. Emily and Brady called her dad and said they needed to meet with him to talk about their different options.
Kolakoski told them about several ways to contribute a scholarship that would have the impact the couple wanted to make for a student-athlete.
They could give a donation designated to provide a scholarship to a student meeting certain criteria. This could be a one-time cash scholarship that is awarded that academic year.
They could create an endowed scholarship, where the university invests the principal and a portion of the earnings spin off to provide a scholarship. The remaining earnings are reinvested and, as the principal grows, so does the amount of scholarship awarded. It takes a minimum $10,000 to establish an endowed scholarship. Some donors create their endowed scholarship with one large gift, while others make smaller contributions on a regular basis until their scholarship reaches the $10,000 threshold to become an endowed scholarship.
Then, there is the combination approach, where donors split their gift. Part goes directly to a student as a scholarship, and part goes toward building up a long-lasting endowed scholarship.
The Kings had a set amount that they wanted to donate for the scholarship, and they wanted to give the scholarship every year.
“We wanted to make sure that the athlete that was going to be receiving the scholarship worked hard academically,” said Brady. “We wanted them to be rewarded for their hard work while also juggling being on a sports team.”
They decided to make an annual donation, creating the King Scholarship to be awarded to a student-athlete who is a leader on the field and academically. The scholarship is to be awarded in addition to any athletic scholarship the student is already receiving.
They are considering the combination approach to scholarship giving – where an annual gift each year goes directly to provide a scholarship, and additional gifts start to build a permanent endowed scholarship.
The student chosen to receive the first King Scholarship was selected by a university panel. The panel didn’t know who had contributed the funds; they made the award based on the scholarship criteria set by the couple.
The student that was chosen happened to be a spitting image of Brady, and had almost the exact same story.
“He is a walk-on baseball player, shares the same favorite foods as me, and wears the exact same number that I did when I played baseball,” laughed Brady. “He even has the same role as I did when I was on the team. The fact that no one knew that we were so similar made it even more special, because we knew God was in it.”
Emily and Brady listened to what the Lord was telling them to do, and they said they are excited that they are able to help someone else who is juggling the weight of being a full-time student while also working hard academically and athletically.
“UM has positively impacted us. We really want to give back any way we can,” said Emily.
To learn more about your options for donating toward student scholarships, contact the Office of Advancement at 251.442.2412