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U.S. Department of Education Funds Fuel Generosity

Matching Gifts Magnify Federal Grants’ Impact at UNM Valencia Campus

Posted July 15, 2016

UNM’s Valencia campus (UNM-V) in Los Lunas has excelled among the branch campuses for its success in winning federal Title III and V grants and in attracting matching private gifts to leverage a portion of these funds to establish scholarship endowments, which have provided support to more than 500 students over the past 16 years.

Dr. Alice Letteney, left, executive director of UNM’s Valencia campus, thanks Jan Pacifico, founder of Tomé Gallery, for hosting the Soup ‘R Bowl fund-raising event last February. Photo: Heidi Snell

Dr. Alice Letteney, left, executive director of UNM’s Valencia campus, thanks Jan Pacifico, founder of Tomé Gallery, for hosting the Soup ‘R Bowl fund-raising event last February. Photo: Heidi Snell

Title III and V of the Higher Education Act were created to expand educational opportunities for low-income and Hispanic students. These grants fund programs to increase the students’ postsecondary academic success through expanding and enhancing academic offerings and institutional stability. Both funding streams include an opportunity to request up to 20 percent of the grants as matching funds for endowments.

UNM-V received its first Title V grant of almost $1 million in 1999, and has been awarded five more Title III and V grants for a total of almost $15.4 million. Total value of endowment funds matched with private funds raised by the UNM-V Development Board is currently $920,000 with an additional $240,000 match in progress. Just announced in October, UNM-V was awarded a brand new $1.2 million Title V grant that includes an additional $120,000 endowment match.

The campus’ success in attracting such grants—and the opportunity to attract matching gifts for scholarship endowments—can be traced to the talents and drive of UNM-V’s executive director, Dr. Alice Letteney, who came to the campus in 1996. Before she arrived, there was no Development Office. Not only did Letteney gain funding for this, she spearheaded creating a Development Board to help raise private matching funds for the endowments, which fund student scholarships.

“Dr. Letteney brought a background of grant-writing to the campus and a new perspective to take it to a higher level,” said Rita Gallegos-Logan, a senior program manager at UNM Valencia.

“Before Dr. Letteney, we’d never received such grants,” said Cindy Shue, senior program manager of contracts and grants, UNM-V. “Dr. Letteney has been the reason for our success.”

The community has rallied its support, recognizing the deep need for higher education and scholarships to support it. A local business, Tomé Art Gallery, now hosts its own yearly fund-raising event, the Soup ’R Bowl. Artists make hundreds of ceramic soup bowls each year. For a donation of $15, attendees pick a soup bowl to keep, and also enjoy a meal of soup, bread, salad and dessert.

The scholarships have had a measurable impact for students. More than 43 percent of recipients have transferred to a four-year institution, and 65 percent have graduated within three years of their first award.

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