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Million Dollar Match: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Through the Million Dollar Match, all gifts received or pledged to Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) between now and Dec. 31, 2019, for need-based endowed scholarships will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the initiative.

What is the WSSU Million Dollar Match?
Between now and Dec. 31, 2019, every dollar that is donated or pledged toward need-based scholarships for WSSU students will be matched up to $1 million, dollar-for-dollar.

What is the timeline for the initiative?
The Million Dollar Match started with a soft launch with alumni in late February. The initiative entered its public phase on Sept. 14, with student ambassadors at WSSU’s home football game and information on the university’s website and social media pages. The Million Dollar Match will continue through December 31, 2019.

What are the goals?
The Million Dollar Match has two goals:

  1. To create $2 million in need-based endowed scholarships for WSSU students.
  2. To nearly double the number of endowed scholarships at WSSU from 125 to 200.
Million Dollar Match: Maximize Your Gift

How much money has been raised since the challenge began?
Current giving totals are available on the Million Dollar Match giving page.

What gifts qualify for the matching contributions?
Any gifts to WSSU that support need-based scholarships will be matched. This includes:

  • New and existing endowed scholarship funds.
  • All class reunion gifts that support need-based endowed scholarship funds.
  • All gifts to WSSU’s Million Dollar Match Endowed Scholarship Fund.

How do I give?
To have your gift matched dollar for dollar: 

  1. Text RAMILY TO 71777
  2. Make a gift to the Million Dollar Match Endowed Scholarship Fund online*. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and electronic checks are accepted. Please select: The Million Dollar Match Endowed Scholarship.
  3. Mail your check to:
    WSSU University Advancement
    601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
    Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Please indicate that the check is for the Million Dollar Match Endowed Scholarship Fund*.

  1. Call University Advancement at 336-750-2184
  2. Visit University Advancement in 311 Blair Hall on WSSU’s campus.

*Gifts to any established need-based endowed scholarship also qualify.

Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. The WSSU Foundation is a 501(c)(3)  

Who is making this happen?
 A Winston-Salem couple has generously offered  to provide up to $1 million in matching funds and challenging our alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends to take on a major role in helping our community meet the goal of making the university financially accessible to more students. The couple will match every dollar raised for need-based endowed scholarships between now and Dec. 31, 2019, up to $1 million. The donors wish to remain anonymous. 

How soon will my contribution be matched by the donors?
The funds will be matched after the end of every quarter.

What are the benefits of participating in the Million Dollar Match?
The big winners in the Million Dollar Match are our students! If you’ve ever thought about creating an endowed scholarship, adding to your existing endowed scholarship fund or just giving back to WSSU, now is a great time because every dollar that is donated – up to $1 million – will be matched.

Any size gift toward need-based scholarships will help WSSU meet our goal.

I have a need-based endowed scholarship fund in the WSSU Foundation, will my contributions qualify for the matching contributions?
Yes! All gifts to need-based endowed scholarships funds will be matched dollar for dollar.

I would like to establish an endowed scholarship. How will it qualify for the match?
If you’ve ever thought about creating a lasting legacy at WSSU by establishing an endowed scholarship, now is a great time. Choose the name and the program you’d like to support at WSSU. As long as the scholarship is need-based, your gift will be matched.

Endowed scholarships usually require a minimum donation of $25,000. However, through the Million Dollar Match, an endowed scholarship can be established for a minimum contribution of $12,500.

And you can pay your contribution over 24 months; that’s a contribution of $520.83 per month.

My company matches my donations. Will my total gift include my employer’s matching gift?
Yes! Please let us know when you have submitted a request for the matching gift. Please email Sonia Barbre at:

Who can participate in the Million Dollar Challenge?
Anyone can help us reach our goal! This includes alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends of WSSU.

How will these resources support our students?
Many WSSU students face unforeseen personal and financial circumstances that may hinder their ability to complete their education.

Last fall, nearly three-quarters of students received federal student loans, and 65% received Pell, a need-based grant. Even with this support, many WSSU students have deficits between the aid they receive and their tuition bill, which can force students to discontinue their studies. Each gift will help us offer more need-based scholarships for students. By increasing the number of scholarships, we can help even more students succeed.

Why are need-based scholarships important?
By increasing the number of need-based scholarships, WSSU can help even more students succeed.

Research shows that offering these type of scholarships are successful. For example, during the 2016-17 academic year, of the 167 students who received Almost Home Scholarships – a need-based scholarship program – 165 – that’s 99% – continued their education or graduated.

Funds contributed to the WSSU Endowed Gap Scholarship Fund will address current needs for 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years and also will create a new interest-earning endowed fund that will provide annual scholarships for perpetuity.

How unique is the Million Dollar Challenge?
Only a few HBCUs across the country have launched this type of matching fund-raiser at this scope, with a goal of raising $2 million for need-based scholarships. Also, among HBCUs gifts of $1 million or more are rare. A 2017 study found that of the 462 gifts to colleges and universities that exceeded $1 million, only two were to HBCUs.

Through the Million Dollar Match, you have the opportunity to help WSSU receive one of the largest gifts in its history.

Who do I contact for more information about the Million Dollar Match?
For more information on the Million Dollar Match:

Alumni FAQs

Will gifts from the alumni chapters of fraternities and sororities qualify for the match? How about contributions from public service organizations?
Yes. Gifts designated for a need-based endowed scholarship from these organizations will be matched dollar for dollar.

Do this year’s class reunion gifts qualify for this matching opportunity?
Yes. If the class reunion gift is designated for a need-based endowed scholarship or if the reunion class members decide to place their gifts in the WSSU Endowed Gap Scholarship Fund. (All funds for 2019 Class reunion gifts will be counted from Oct. 21, 2018-Oct. 30, 2019.

What about gifts from my alumni chapter, WSSU regional association, or the WSSU National Alumni Association?
Yes! All of these gifts qualify for the WSSU Million Dollar Match.

Do contributions during Homecoming 2019 and our Day of Giving on December 3, 2019, qualify for this matching opportunity?
Yes. These contributions qualify for the matching gift opportunity.

Why are alumni important to the Million Dollar Match?
The initiative is designed especially to enhance alumni giving to WSSU. As Rams, you know more than anyone the life-changing impact a degree from WSSU can have. Nothing means more than when the people who know WSSU best, our alumni, believe in the future of WSSU and put their money behind that belief.

Faculty/Staff FAQs

Can WSSU faculty, staff, participate in the alumni challenge?
Yes! The donors and friends will match all qualified contributions.

How can I get involved?
Faculty and staff are welcome to volunteer to help secure support for the Million Dollar Match. One option is to set up an a fundraising page for the Million Dollar Challenge through Mobile Cause and invite family and friends to participate. The donor list is updated in real time. To learn more, email University Advancement.

Parent FAQs

Why is it important for parents to give to the campaign?
As a Ram parent, you are vested in the success of students at WSSU. Through the Million Dollar Match, you’ll know that you’re having an impact on the students and that your gift will be match 100% by a donor. Further, you can support the programs that are important to your student.

Student FAQs

How can students get involved?
Students can help us spread the word at all home football and basketball games and at university events. Contact Lisa Knight at 336-750-3149 for more information.  

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