When Bob '45 and Doris Malesardi pledged the largest commitment in University history last year — $20 million to support financial aid endowment — the news energized the Bucknell community. One year later, the Malesardis' gift is motivating others to follow suit, thanks to the success of the Malesardi Match, a matching-gift program the couple created to increase the impact of their support.
"When you see the good work the Malesardis are doing, it provides inspiration for everyone to make a gift," said Kathy LaPoint, a Bucknell trustee. She and her husband, Bill, have children in the classes of 2014 and 2017, and recently created an endowed scholarship for first-generation students in response to the Malesardi Match. "We firmly believe that we should give back and provide for the next generation of students, particularly those who cannot afford a school like Bucknell," she said.
The LaPoints are among the more than 50 donors who have responded to the Malesardi Match, making gifts or pledges totaling $12 million. Launched in July 2016, the Malesardi Match offers donors a 1:2 match for gifts of $100,000 or more toward need-based endowed scholarships. For example, an individual who gives $100,000 to create or support a need-based endowed scholarship will receive $50,000 in matching funds from the Malesardi gift toward that scholarship.
"We created the match program to inspire others to invest in the education of high-achieving young people who, without financial aid, couldn't attend Bucknell," said Bob Malesardi, who entered Bucknell 76 years ago at the age of 16. "We feel strongly that this is the most meaningful and permanent way to support students and the University. Our intention was to increase accessibility for great students, and to encourage others to continue to do so long after we are gone."
More than half of Bucknell undergraduates receive institutional aid, which this year totaled $54 million. WE DO gifts and pledges to financial aid stand at nearly $150 million, which includes both endowed and annual scholarships. Notably, annual support for financial aid is on the rise, running 20 percent ahead of last year's figures.
"More Bucknellians are becoming aware of the importance of scholarships, thanks in large part to the Malesardis' extraordinary example," said Scott Rosevear, vice president of Development & Alumni Relations. "Financial aid is critical to our ability to recruit and enroll the most talented students of all backgrounds, which enriches the Bucknell experience for everyone."
Robert Chrencik, a 1973 graduate of Bucknell, took advantage of the Malesardi Match to add to the scholarship he and his wife endowed in 2007. Chrencik, who is the president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System, said he would not have been able to attend Bucknell without scholarships.
"In order for Bucknell to be competitive in the long haul, it's got to be able to recruit the best students who need to be here but who may not have the financial resources to get here. Scholarships make that possible," Chrencik said. "Bucknell needs scholarships because the future quality and diversity of the student body depends on it."
WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell
WE DO fundraising stands at $435 million and is now $65 million away from reaching its goal of half-a-billion dollars by this summer. The most ambitious campaign in University history, it offers myriad opportunities at all gift levels for Bucknellians to support current and future students.
To learn more about the Malesardi Match, please contact Mark Sharer, executive director of leadership gifts & constituent fundraising, at 570-577-3914 or email@example.com.