Dentistry donors break Give to the Max record with $37,408 raised

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry raised a record $37,408 for scholarship funds on this year’s Give to the Max Day. 

Held on November 18 this year, Give to the Max Day is an annual day of fundraising coordinated by GiveMN and focused on incurring donations for Minnesotan nonprofits and organizations. 

As part of a concerted shift toward raising funds for student scholarships, the School of Dentistry sought donations this year to the Dental School Scholarships fund, which funds scholarships for students in all programs. The School of Dentistry provided nearly $750,000 in scholarship funds to students for the 2020-2021 academic year, an increase from $447,000 in the previous academic year. The school hopes to provide $5 million annually in scholarships that will help with recruitment and meeting student needs. 

“We have learned that recruiting some of the best and brightest applicants to our program requires providing scholarships,” Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PhD, explained in a message to the School of Dentistry community. “We hope to reach our goal by a combination of on-demand scholarships and endowments for long-term support.” 

The more than $37,000 raised this year will fully go to funding scholarships and making a direct difference in students’ lives. The final total includes $15,288 in donations on the crowdfunding site, an $8,000 match challenge from the Class of 1981, and a $1,000 prize donation from a staff member.

One donor was Aaron Bumann, DDS ’13, a pediatric dentist in Missouri who has given been a donor since 2014. 

“As a prior recipient, I know how much these scholarships mean as a student,” Bumann reflected on his choice to give to scholarships this year. “I am proud to support the next group of dental leaders.” 

An $8,000 gift came from the DDS Class of 1981, who had challenged donors by pledging to match the first $8,000 raised in honor of their 40th graduation anniversary. Continuing a challenge pledge instituted last year by the Class of 1980, Ken McDougall, DDS ’81, led a team of his classmates in pledging to increase scholarship dollars. 

“My education was the basis for everything positive that happened in my career, not only in my practice but also in organized dentistry,” McDougall explained of his desire to help students with scholarship funds. “The cost of dental education has always been high, but the percentage that falls back on students is higher now than it’s ever been. That can limit who is able to attend dental school, and it can be a limiting factor on what they want to do when they graduate.” 

In addition to the match gift and crowdfunding totals, a final $1,000 came from a staff member who prefers to remain anonymous. As part of their own donation to Give to the Max Day, this staff member was entered into and won a staff member donation prize for a cause of their choice. She chose to give that $1,000 gift to the School of Dentistry. 

“I care a lot about our students and enjoy helping them,” the staff member reflected. “Relieving them of some of the cost of their education seems like one of the most important ways of supporting them.”

The School of Dentistry is grateful for the generosity of donors who put their support behind our students. Learn more about scholarship giving.