SVSU Foundation Annual Report (2020-21)

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LETTER FROM SVSU PRESIDENT AND FOUNDATION BOARD CHAIR Dear Friends, Wherever you live, there’s a very good possibility that a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University is contributing to the vitality of your community. That’s because, since our founding, SVSU has been a community institution. Our students care about others, and they are prepared to succeed­— from the classroom to the boardroom, the laboratory to the law office, on stage and in the ICU. Today, SVSU alumni are making a difference in every state in our nation and in at least 28 countries around the world. While they are equipped to compete anywhere, and some venture to points far afield, we are proud that most of our alumni remain in Michigan, especially in the Great Lakes Bay Region. You — and those supporters who came before you — are the reason SVSU is able to deliver dedicated, determined, caring, capable graduates into the workforce. We hear every day from students with big dreams and from employers with big needs. Quite simply, we could not do the work we do without your support. And we are immensely grateful for that support. Without you, SVSU would not be able to offer the exceptional educational experiences that prepare our students to succeed. Scholarships, in particular, have become increasingly vital for our students, and that need will continue to grow. Many families have experienced financial disruption, and many students face learning gaps and/ or mental health challenges from the obstacles of the past two years. Easing their financial burden reduces their stress level and expedites the path to their future career. You might think that you can’t make a gift large enough to make a difference. Rest assured, you can. Every gift increases opportunity for an SVSU student. For instance, gifts of $1,000 or more from an individual donor fund a scholarship for one or more students, while smaller gifts from multiple donors may be combined to provide scholarship support. Individually and collectively, we can all make a difference for students seeking to advance their education, prepare for careers and contribute to their community. You are proof of that, and we thank you.

Donald J. Bachand President, SVSU

Dave Abbs Chair, SVSU Foundation Board of Directors


SVSU Foundation Board of Directors, 2019-2020

Statement of Financial Position





Highlights of FY2021 and their families. We know that a scholarship of $1,000 can make an important difference in the ability of these students to stay in college and on track to graduation, so they can join the workforce where they’re so greatly needed.”

Over the last six years, 2/2 for SVSU, our annual day of giving, has continued to grow! Our 2021 campaign was our best yet, generating more than $105,000 from 534 donors, demonstrating once again the generosity of SVSU’s supporters. The 2021 2/2 for SVSU campaign had an ambitious fundraising goal of $100,000 to fund 100 scholarships. “Many SVSU students struggle to bridge the gap between their finances and college expenses,” said Andrew J. Bethune, SVSU Foundation executive director. “And the pandemic added or magnified financial difficulties for our students

NEST Ambassadors Committed students helped keep campus community safe

As in 2020, the 2021 campaign included an element of friendly competition: donors could vote for one of SVSU’s five colleges or the Athletics department to receive a bonus. David Kowaleski, B.B.A. 1979, made the largest single donation and chose the College of Health and Human Services as the recipient of a $5,000 bonus. SVSU Athletics received the most votes and a second bonus of $5,000. “2/2 for SVSU has become a day when SVSU alumni and friends come together to support our students,” Bethune said. “That so many donors stepped up to support our students in a year of continued uncertainty means so much, and we are grateful for the support of all who made 2/2 for SVSU a great success.” After six long months of teaching and learning remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the SVSU community was ready to return to in-person instruction in the fall of 2020. To protect the health and safety of our campus community, the university implemented the NEST (New Expectations for a Safer Tomorrow) plan. SVSU students working as NEST Ambassadors and NEST Fellows implemented this plan, helping protect the health and safety of our campus and allowing SVSU to remain open. The generosity of donors made it possible for SVSU to provide scholarships and employment to these students.


Honoring Donors of Distinction

In recognition of our most generous and loyal donors, the SVSU Foundation is honored to introduce a restructured Advocates Society. This special group recognizes donors who have made gifts at a transformational level. Advocates Society members are those who have established an endowment or an estate gift or whose cumulative lifetime giving has reached $25,000 or greater. Advocates Society Designations Heritage $1,000,000 or greater Visionary $100,000 - $999,999 Opportunity $50,000 - $99,999 Milestone $25,000 - $49,999 Creating the Future Society – Estate Giving Legacy Society – Endowment Founders Benefits of Advocates Society Membership • Annual signature event exclusively for Advocates Society members • Spring social event showcasing the university’s colleges and academic programs • Complimentary legacy and estate planning virtual seminar featuring an expert speaker • Donor appreciation days with special discounts on SVSU apparel and other items available in the bookstore • Inclusion on the donor recognition kiosk in Groening Commons • Recognition in the SVSU Foundation annual report, Advance+ • Invitation to campus events and other communications to keep you “in the know” • Advocates Society lapel pin PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE

The President’s Circle acknowledges SVSU’s loyal and generous donors who contribute $1,000 or more during a fiscal year. Alumni and friends in the President’s Circle help support a wide variety of programs, scholarships and special projects that would not be possible without the generosity of donors who care about helping students succeed and building a bright future for our region. Opportunities for President’s Circle members • Special events • Complimentary legacy and estate planning virtual seminar featuring an expert speaker • Invitations to campus events • Recognition in the Foundation annual report, Advance+ • Inclusion on the donor recognition kiosk in Groening Commons • Communications to keep you informed about noteworthy news, information and events • President’s Circle lapel pin


Scholarship Recipient

Maddison Godi • College of Business “When I started out, I was a dental hygiene major with a one-track mind,” said Maddison Godi, a marketing major from Bay City. “When I realized I was no longer happy, I was able to explore my options.” After transferring colleges and switching her major four times, Maddison decided to pursue marketing, which was a perfect match. I love helping people,” Maddison said, “and my dream is to help small businesses compete with larger companies through marketing.” As she was exploring colleges, Maddison knew she wanted to stay close to home to be near her support system — her family. And she needed to stay financially stable. Maddison had first visited SVSU for high school swimming competitions and fell in love with campus, so SVSU was a top choice. As she was exploring her options and making the transition to SVSU, Maddison found the help she needed from Associate Director of Admissions Anderson Bearden. “He helped guide me as I came into SVSU as a transfer student.” Private support has made it possible for her to attend the university and to stay in college continuously. Maddison receives the privately funded Bob and Marge Goedert Family Business Endowed Scholarship and the Robert and Ellen 6

Thompson Scholarship for Working Families Transfer Scholarship. “I would have had to take a break before continuing my education without the support of scholarships,” Maddison says. And that would have delayed her education even more. Now comfortable in her choice of major, Maddison is gaining as much experience as she can. “I am working two jobs along with my marketing internship,” Maddison said. “I love staying busy.” She’s also a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional fraternity that fosters the study of business and promotes affiliation between students and the business community. Maddison is on track to graduate in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing. She plans to get work experience to build a solid foundation so that “I can one day own my own marketing business where I can help small businesses grow and compete.” SVSU helped Maddison discover her passion. Scholarship support helped her pursue it. Now she’s feeling confident in her choice of career and is ready to make a difference in the workforce and her community.

a natural choice. 1st State was always involved with the Stevens Center for Family Business at SVSU, one of the few family business programs in Michigan. Plus, SVSU’s Carmona College of Business offers classes to address challenges that are unique to family businesses. “I knew the value of the family business program at SVSU,” said Rick. “Through the Bob and Marge Goedert Scholarship, we want to help strengthen family businesses by making sure students know how to deal with issues and can keep those family businesses alive and prosperous.”

Donor Profile

Rick and Mary Goedert

Bob and Marge Goedert Family Business Endowed Scholarship When Rick Goedert was a boy, his parents decided they wanted to be in business for themselves, so in 1959 they established a real estate business in Adrian. “As we went through school, we all worked a little bit in the business,” Rick said. And when I graduated from college, I joined the family business with my older brother. Eventually, my younger brother and brother-in-law also were in the business. My younger brother still runs it.” Mary Goedert also has ties to family business concerns in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Her grandfather owned an ice cream manufacturing company, and her father, Burt Watson, established an auto dealership that her brother now owns. “Family businesses are vital for the economy and the prosperity of our area,” said Rick who, with Mary, established the Bob and Marge Goedert Family Business Endowed Scholarship in memory of his parents. Rick, retired president and CEO of 1st State Bank, said establishing this scholarship at SVSU was

Rick and Mary find it rewarding to help students through college and into careers. They also appreciate the opportunity to pay tribute to loved ones. In addition to the scholarship named for Rick’s parents, the couple established a nursing scholarship at the Saginaw Community Foundation to honor Mary’s mother, Cosby E. Watson, who was a nurse in during World War II when she met Mary’s father, and remained active in helping others throughout her lifetime. Through the Bob and Marge Goedert Scholarship, Rick and Mary hope to encourage more students to nurture their families’ businesses. They also want to encourage students to make the most of their college experience. “Get as much information as you can,” Rick said, “as much involvement in school, because you learn from that, not just from books.” Rick and Mary Goedert talk about why they support SVSU. Open the QR code or visit 7

Sally said. “Today, more than ever, this is a critical skill because things change rapidly and drastically. A liberal arts background prepares one for that.”

Donor Profile

Through their years of working and raising a family, Sally and Bill always remembered the values instilled in them during their college years, and they always found ways to lend their support to others. That includes a scholarship the couple established at SVSU in 1998. Designed to provide financial support for students in SVSU’s College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, the William and Sally Bowen Scholarship reflects the couple’s appreciation for the opportunities their degrees provided as well as a commitment to help others the way they were helped.

Bill and Sally Bowen

William and Sally Bowen Scholarship Bill and Sally Bowen’s story of philanthropy is inextricably linked to their love story, which began nearly 63 years ago when the two were students at Alma College, a small private college in Michigan. “We met in college. When we were students, we were told that 40 percent of the cost of our education came from donations to the institution,” Sally said. “The notion that people we did not know and never would know were helping us get an education was amazing. That has stuck with us and become a part of our lives. It was an early example of the phrase ‘it takes a village.’” Both Sally and Bill are the products of a liberal arts education. Bill went on to a 40-year career as an executive with General Motors, and Sally dedicated her professional life to the advancement of higher education. Later, Bill would serve as an adjunct faculty member at SVSU. “The exposure to many disciplines provides a sense of confidence that we could take on new things and contribute to organizations that made a difference,” 8

Through the years, Bill and Sally have developed a deepening respect for SVSU. “The roots of SVSU are strongly attached to the community,” Bill said. “Its history is an important part of its daily life.” Remembering their own experiences as undergraduates and the impact college made on them, the Bowens have some advice for today’s SVSU students. “We would tell them that they have made an excellent choice of a place to get an education that will prepare them for the rest of their life,” Sally said. “If they take full advantage of this opportunity, it will change them forever.”

Scholarship Recipient

Jahari Essex • College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences “I always had a love for the arts,” said Jahari Essex, an art major from Saginaw. Jahari channeled his love of the arts into theatre, acting and film production during high school at the Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy, which contributed to his involvement in SVSU theatre productions. He has worked as a stagehand in SVSU’s virtual theatre production of Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll House” and played Felix in SVSU’s production of TJ Young’s play “No. 6.” Jahari was familiar with SVSU’s campus through the Great Lakes Bay Early College Program, but he originally wanted to go to college in LA or Atlanta. He felt it was divine calling that led him back to SVSU. “I believe it was God’s divine plan that caused me to stay at SVSU and I am so grateful that I did. The season of me being at SVSU was needed. I met so many new people, made valuable connections and have grown so much, while being close to home.” Private support played an important role in Jahari’s SVSU attendance. He received the William and Sally Bowen Scholarship, Frank N. Andersen Scholarship, Terry and Jerry Drake Endowed Scholarship and Saginaw Urban & Civic Partnership Award in addition to the university-funded Cardinal Scholarship and SVSU Opportunity Grant.

Through these and outside scholarships, Jahari was able to attend SVSU debt-free, which he said has made college more enjoyable. “I always found that it is easier to get the fullness out of things when you don’t have a financial burden. The extra time I would be working, I could use to volunteer, network and meet new people. Scholarship support allowed me to focus on my business more and study more too! “For me, it helped having experience and handson learning. While learning in the theatre program, I was able to use my directing skills by directing scenes in class. Also, while learning acting, I was able to work in the nursing program as a healthcare simulation actor.” Jahari was able to nurture his passion at SVSU, and in the future he plans to help others discover their passion. “I want to have a ‘dream center’ that people of all ages can go to and network, make connections and get experience in that field they are looking to go for.”


Scholarship Recipient

Talia Pruiett • College of Health and Human Services As a first-generation college student, Talia Pruiett needed guidance. She found that — and much more — at Saginaw Valley State University. Throughout high school, Talia was a disciplined student and pushed her limits, always trying to put herself in the best position for success, including dual-enrolling to earn college credit while still in high school. “I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. SVSU had the most opportunities. There are resources and people who are there to help.” Since Talia knew she would be paying for her own college education, her financial situation was a primary consideration when deciding where to pursue her degree. “Being offered scholarships and aid was crucial in my decision to pursue a post-secondary education.” SVSU delivered. In the 2020-21 academic year, Talia received the privately funded Oscar and Louise Osthelder Scholarship, Walter T. James Memorial Scholarship, Rising Stars of STEM Scholarship and the Student Association Study Abroad Endowed Scholarship. She was also accepted as part of the 23rd class of the Donna J. Roberts Fellowship, which convenes during the 2021-22 academic year. 10

“The best part about SVSU is the access to opportunities,” Talia said. “The staff and faculty are so willing to seek out those opportunities to help me grow and reach my full potential. They have been open to working with me and helping me grow as a person and pursue opportunities to gain experience in my field of study.” After volunteering at a juvenile detention center through an SVSU Alternative Breaks trip, Talia found her passion working with at-risk populations. “I [now] work at a juvenile detention center and love what I do. It has been a great experience to work hands-on in the community. I wouldn’t have gotten this job if the faculty and staff at SVSU hadn’t worked with me and lifted me up.” Talia anticipates graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work in May 2023 and plans to attend Michigan State University and pursue a Master of Social Work. “I hope to one day work as a probation office in addition to working as a macro social worker in legislature to write policy and work with at-risk communities to improve America’s systems.” Thanks to a strong support network, including donors like you, Talia is on her way to making the world a better place.

Donor Profile

“We’ve given to numerous community events and programs that we think are important, and we would often find particular causes here at SVSU that resonated with us. Here, we know that if we make a donation for a student cause, they will get it.”

Vanessa Brooks Herd and Herbert Herd “We believe in giving to SVSU because we can see the need,” said Vanessa Brooks Herd who, with her husband Herbert, has been a loyal SVSU supporter for 20 years. “When we started supporting SVSU, we were in contact with students on a daily basis. We could see the need and knew we could do something about it.” Both Vanessa and Herbert spent many years teaching and mentoring SVSU students in the Department of Social Work, Vanessa as an associate professor of social work and Herbert as an adjunct instructor. Vanessa recently assumed the position of fellow in SVSU’s new Mental Health and Wellness Center, and she has a role in SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs. Herbert recently stopped teaching but continues to practice psychotherapy. The couple met while in graduate school at Wayne State University in Detroit. They shared a desire to help others and “the belief that if you’re moving ahead, you need to reach back and have other people move ahead.” Vanessa continued, “Because we have been blessed, we were able to make financial contributions in addition to donating our time.

Through the years, Vanessa and Herbert have supported a variety of needs at SVSU, from scholarships to athletic teams to overseas travel. They’ve also helped students on a more personal level. “If there were students who needed money for books, we would help buy books,” Herbert said. “We don’t have to have millions of dollars to be helpful. Whether it’s a book or making a donation toward a building or helping athletes, there are so many ways that people with any amount of money can help.” The Herds feel good about supporting SVSU. “This is where people can come and get a very good education, and they can get it at a price that is not as high as some other places,” Herbert said.

Hear what Vanessa Brooks Herd and Herbert Herd say about supporting SVSU. Scan the QR code or visit 11

New Board Members

Three new members joined the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors in February 2021.

Jessica Bentoski, D.D.S. Jessica Bentoski graduated summa cum laude from SVSU in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science. As a Presidential Scholar and Roberts Fellow, she was very active in campus leadership during her time at SVSU. After graduation, Dr. Bentoski received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery and Master of Science degree in Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She maintains her commitment to service by volunteering for various community outreach events. She is a member of several organizations, including the American Dental Association, Michigan Dental Association, and Saginaw Valley District Dental Society. She also serves as a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a Fellow of the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry. Jessica established the Dr. Jessica R. Bentoski Endowed Scholarship for Pre-Dental Students to support SVSU students pursuing careers in dentistry.

Vance Fulton, CPA, CIA Vance Fulton graduated from SVSU in 2012 with a Bachelor of Public Accountancy. At SVSU he was a Roberts Fellow, inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and served on the College of Business Student Advisory Board. He was a resident assistant, orientation leader and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. He was the homecoming king in 2011. Vance is now internal audit manager for Lear Corporation in Southfield. He has extensive experience in public accounting and internal audit and a background in leading teams to execute complex audits of business processes and financial statements. Vance has established the Vance B3 Fulton Endowed Scholarship for students pursuing degrees in accounting.


Jimmy E. Greene After 15 years as president and CEO of the Greater Michigan Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), Jimmy Greene stepped into his new position as the president of ABC of Michigan. His primary focus is on the areas of policy, government affairs and political relationships. One of his goals as president is to demonstrate how free enterprise works with diversity and inclusion. “It gives me great pleasure to demonstrate how those work together and how it’s shaped by public policy,” he said. Green observed that he was the first and only Black CEO in the group’s 65-year history. “The opportunity to talk about public policy and diversity statewide excites me,” he said.

In Appreciation The SVSU Foundation extends our thanks to Rick Goedert and Sean Hammond who have completed their terms on the Foundation Board of Directors.

Rick Goedert

Sean Hammond


Message from the Executive Director PHILANTHROPY AND THE PANDEMIC Good news! How’s that for a start? This annual report is a celebration of so many good people who do so much good to help others. 2020-2021 was a challenging year, but our students, faculty and staff all kept moving forward. We couldn’t have done it without your support leading the way. As donors, you provide financial support to help fund scholarships and programs that are critical to our success. Your philanthropy also provides encouragement. It says to all of us, ‘you can do it’ and ‘we’re with you.’ That means the world to all of us. I am happy to report our single largest gift in university history from the Robert and Ellen Thompson Family Foundation. Their $6 million gift provided additional funding for the scholarship program that Mr. and Mrs. Thompson established in 2016. This past year, 297 students received the Thompson scholarship, and that number will grow to nearly 400 in 2021-2022. The Robert and Ellen Thompson Working Families Scholarship provides a $5,000 renewable scholarship that is matched by SVSU. We couldn’t be more grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Thompson for the generosity, care and concern for our students. Their support changes the trajectory of students’ lives and provides the opportunity for a better future. Overall, we continue to increase the number of private scholarships the SVSU Foundation awards to students: 1,464 awards were made this past year compared with 550 10 years ago. This is an encouraging sign as more students face challenges to attend and stay in college. We are sure to face more challenges in the years ahead. However, in the face of adversity please remember that our students continue to graduate from SVSU, find meaningful careers, build lives, volunteer and contribute to the communities where they reside. In the Great Lakes Bay Region that means more skilled health professionals, teachers, business professionals, engineers, scientists, researchers and more. We see a bright future. And you light the path. Thank you!

Andrew J. Bethune


Looking Ahead This annual report gives us an opportunity to review and celebrate what we accomplished over the previous year thanks to the support of alumni and friends. While we have much to celebrate, we also have ample opportunity – and need – to continue to advance the university. While generating scholarship support continues to be a primary objective of the Foundation, over the next year we will increase our focus on providing more opportunities for alumni and friends to learn more about SVSU, better understand activities in key academic disciplines, and support the initiatives that align with their interests. We will work closely with SVSU’s five colleges, the Athletics department and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum to promote the different priorities that will help SVSU continue preparing students to succeed and lead in the workforce. Some of the Foundation’s activities over the next year will include: • Quarterly Advance enews • Twice a year Advance+ college newsletters • Fundraising campaigns, including days of giving for SVSU Athletics and the Marshall M. Fredericks Museum in addition to our signature 2/2 for SVSU giving day campaign We hope you enjoy hearing from us, and we look forward to hearing from you.


SVSU Foundation Board of Directors 2021-2022


David J. Abbs Chair Saginaw

Kimberly A. Norris Immediate Past Chair Saginaw

Scott L. Carmona Bay City

Donald J. Bachand 1st Vice Chair Bay City

Jenifer Acosta Midland

John A. Decker Bay City

Waheed Akbar 2nd Vice Chair Saginaw

Victor H. Aviles Saginaw

Sarah L. Delahanty Bay City

Mary Anne Ackerman Secretary Frankenmuth

Jessica R. Bentoski Clarkston

Mary F. Draves Midland

James G. Muladore Treasurer Freeland

Janet M. Botz Suamico, WI

Anne H. Flegenheimer Saginaw

Andrew J. Bethune Executive Director Saginaw

Sheilda D. Braddock Saginaw

Vance B. Fulton West Bloomfield

Jimmy Greene Saginaw

Bhushan S. Kulkarni Ann Arbor

Cassie Jo Thierfelder Redford

John D.L. Humphreys Saginaw

John M. Kunitzer Saginaw

Michael T. Tribble Saginaw

Deborah R. Huntley Saginaw

Thomas J. Nellenbach Troy

Rajkumari M. Wiener Williamston

Lori J. Jurgens Bay City

Kenneth G. Roznowski Bay City

Katie Zehnder Weiss Frankenmuth

Wendy D. Kanar Midland

Vicki L. Rupp Saginaw

K. P. Karunakaran Saginaw

Linda L. Sims Freeland


Thank you for suporting SVSU and making a difference for our students and the communities where they will live and work. We welcome your continued support: