First grants from Husky Pride Fund to be distributed

The Husky Pride Fund receives $6 for every T-shirt sold at the UW Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma bookstores. Photo by Lucas Anderson

For his first three years at the UW, Matthew Sackman was unable to attend Husky football games. Mandatory college expenses — tuition, food, textbooks, and living accommodations — consumed most of his finances, and superfluous expenses like Dawg Pack tickets did not fit into the equation.

Sackman, now a senior, is working to make extra money available to UW students who share his past predicament. Sackman is the ASUW advancement chair, a new ASUW position that makes him the frontline fundraiser for the Husky Pride Fund.

“[The idea behind the fund is] to allow students to all have Husky pride and school spirit — to have that full UW experience, that full college experience,” Sackman said.

The fund has been raising money since 2007, the bulk of which comes from the student population. During fall quarter 2010, it reached $50,000 and was signed into an endowment, which is a scholarship or grant fund in which some of the interest is given out, Sackman said.

Spring quarter of this year, disbursements from the fund will be given out to students for the first time. Students from UW Bothell and UW Tacoma are also eligible for grants from the fund.

Instead of being used for tuition costs, money from the fund can be used by students either to pay for extra activities — such as UW sports games, fraternity or sorority dues, or student organizations — or for emergencies, such as family illness or to replace stolen property. Applicants’ financial need will be considered, and grants may also be merit-based, Sackman said.

“We didn’t want to give it out either winter or fall [quarter],” Sackman said. “We wanted to have enough money so that we can actually make an impact on students.”

Until now, the fund was accumulating enough money to reach the status where interest could be given out, Sackman said. Approximately $1,800 worth of interest has been accumulated for disbursement, although some of the interest must go back into the endowment. As the fund grows, more and more money will be available for students.

“It’s like a never-ending scholarship,” Sackman said.

This quarter, Sackman, along with the Advancement Committee for the fund and the newly created Husky Pride Fund Committee, will write and finalize the processes of the disbursement of the fund. They will also arrange the application process for the fund — which should begin early next quarter — and prepare to disburse the money in April or May.

The application process will most likely consist of an essay, Sackman said. When reviewing application essays, Sackman and the committees will be looking for students who will use the money to strengthen their Husky pride and contribute to the school in some way.

Sackman’s personal goal is to double the endowment amount to $100,000, a task that can only be accomplished through continuous fundraising. Currently, Husky Pride Fund T-shirts, which are the only shirts bearing the UW’s 150th-year logo, are on sale for $20 at UW Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma bookstores. The fund receives $6 for every shirt sold. Shirts can also be ordered online from the U-Book Store website.

Additionally, the fund has donation jars in dining halls on campus, is running a sorority coin competition until next January, and is always looking to expand its fundraising projects.

“It’s a continual fundraising thing, because the more money you have in the main account, the more … you can get in the interest to be given out to students,” Sackman said.

The fund’s Advancement Committee, which is made up of five students and is headed by Sackman, also hopes to raise another $50,000 for the fund this year, to increase awareness about the committee and what it does and to gain support from the community, said Blanca Chavez, vice chairman of the Advancement Committee.

“We have a lot of different goals,” she said. “We know they’re ambitious, but I know that we can do it.”

Both graduate and undergraduate students can benefit from the fund, which Sackman said is essentially for students, by students.

“The hope is kind of a family tradition to keep the UW together as a community,” Chavez said.

With the impending disbursement of the first grants from the fund, it is expected the impact students can have on each other will become evident.

“I think [this pride fund] is so unique, because this actually is giving students an opportunity to make that effect on their fellow students,” Sackman said. “Even just a quarter in the coin box is something that will go a long way.”

Reach reporter Katie Pine at news@dailyuw.com.

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