University nears cash goal; sum to fund a variety of scholarships

With less than two months until January, Florida A&M University is less than 35 percent away from reaching its $1.5 million goal, as the Tom Joyner School of the Month.

“The numbers are very impressive [and] if you look at the time we’ve been involved, we’ve seen a very positive response from alumni, corporate sponsors and all of our supporters,” President James H. Ammons said. “It shows the love and dedication our alumni and supporters have for the university.”

The average goal for nominated schools in previous years has been around $750,000. This year FAMU decided to set a new standard and double that amount.

Although the last amount of donations announced by FAMU’s Office of Public Relations totaled $682, 915, President Ammons said after Homecoming the university hit the million-dollar mark and is very close to the $1.5 million goal.

Many of the organizations that have donated money include the Diamondback Pharmacy Council, the National Alumni Association and FAMU’s Student Government Association.

James Bland, student body vice president and a senior business student from Titusville, said SGA collected donations at football games to contribute.

Bland said they raised $500 at the football game against Norfolk State University and $1,300 at the Homecoming football game.

“I’m excited to be involved because a portion of the money we raise will go toward the endowment for student scholarships that Monique [Gillum, SGA president] and I are working to start,” Bland said.

Ammons said he commends the efforts of students who have been and are involved in the fundraising efforts.

“It shows the character of the students at Florida A&M because they’re getting involved in fundraising for scholarships,” he said.

Adriene B. Wright, director of development in university relations, said she has been working in partnership with the Tom Joyner School of the Month Foundation to campaign for funding.

As part of the campaign, Wright said there are several upcoming scholarships that students can apply for.

“We’re trying to get the word out to students about the three different types of scholarship available,” Wright said. “The drop points for students to submit applications will be available on our Web site soon and students will be able to pull applications and start working on them.”

During the university’s awareness month, which is celebrated in January, the university and scholarship recipients are highlighted on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

As an incentive, Quisa Wittingham, director of College Relations for TJF, said the foundation would be awarding schools that have met or surpassed their goals with a bonus.

“The amount has not been identified because we have a lot of schools and we’re trying to come up with a bonus that meets the needs of the school based on amount of money they raise,” Wittingham said.

Although FAMU’s focus month is January, Wittingham said the university has until Dec. 31, 2008 to raise funds.

Ammons said the university is still going strong to meet and exceed the goal.

“We want to encourage all our supporters to keep working to make these much needed funds for scholarships,” Ammons said. “[I’m] just hoping that what we send a clear message to the foundation and the nation the premium we put on access to higher education for students who attend Florida A&M and other historically black colleges and universities.”