Endowed need-based scholarships will support IUE students
The Reeces’ gift, announced in September at the School of Education’s annual scholar-donor luncheon, contributed to a University of Missouri System scholarship program, which matches private donations with public dollars.
The system’s matching gift program gave the University of Missouri-Kansas City the potential to fund 30 need-based scholarships. But to get each one, UMKC had to successfully solicit private matching funds of $20,000. UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton said the university had successfully solicited gifts to fund 18 of the scholarships when the Reeces heard about the program.
“When we told these humble donors and pillars in our community that we had 12 slots remaining valued at nearly $250,000, they stepped forward to match those public dollars with their own private funds to establish the nearly $500,000 Jerry and Patty Reece Family IUE Endowed Scholarship at the School of Education,” Morton said at the luncheon. “Needless to say, their generosity will annually support multiple IUE students for many, many years to come.”
The IUE is a four-year teacher education program — the first undergraduate program of its kind in the United States — with the primary focus of preparing teachers for success in elementary and middle school urban classrooms with a curricular emphasis on the most urgent areas of need in urban education: math, science and literacy.
In exchange for scholarship support, IUE students commit to teach at least four years in a Kansas City-area urban district following graduation. Sixty-eight percent of current students and 46 percent of IUE graduates are people of color.
When the Reeces made the commitment to endow the UM System scholarships, they already were familiar with the IUE. For four years they had sponsored an IUE student with annual gifts through The Ellis Foundation, a Kansas-based foundation dedicated to funding scholarships for college students.
The Reeces are continuing their support of a School of Education IUE student through The Ellis Foundation, which also offers a mentoring program aimed at college success and degree completion.
Jerry Reece said he and his wife Patty, who holds a Master of Arts degree from the School of Education, believe in the work the IUE is doing to improve urban education because of the direct experience they have had with the program and its students. They saw the matching gift program as an opportunity to leverage their dollars to benefit more IUE students.
School of Education Dean Wanda Blanchett thanked the Reeces for their gift, which she called impactful and meaningful.
“It truly warms our hearts when donors believe so deeply in the school’s work and students,” she said.