Alumni match gifts up to $20,000

By Moin H. Khan

In a effort to encourage NIU alumni to contribute to the university, one couple has offered a $20,000 challenge donation for the annual fund program.

James and Linda Mason, Geneva residents and NIU alumni, will match all new gifts, up to $20,000, from alumni who have graduated since 1980 and who did not donate to the fund last year.

The gift is one of the largest single alumni donations in the history of the fund, said Thomas Montiegel, vice president for development and university relations. If the challenge is met, the university will receive $40,000, Montiegel said.

James Mason, of Katz-Mason Construction and Katz-Mason Apartments, said, “As we reflected upon our NIU education, we realized how important it has been to our success in business and in our family lives.”

Linda Mason said, “This challenge gift is a way to repay Northern and also encourage other alumni, particularly the more recent graduates, to contribute.”

Challenge gifts have proven to be very successful in motivating other donors, Montiegel said. When an alumnus is prepared to give so generously, other alumni take notice and realize they are grateful to the university as well, he added.

“More than 1,000 new alumni donors responded last year,” Montiegel said. “This year, thanks to the challenge gift, we hope 2,000 new alumni donors will join in the program. Jim and Linda Mason’s generosity is a giant step toward achieving that goal.”

The alumni fund, an account within the NIU Foundation, received $400,000 in donations last year, contributed by 9,000 alumni, Montiegel said. This was the most successful year in the university’s history. Both the number of donors and dollars established new records, he said.

The fund supports about 30 scholarships each year and helps support NIU academic programs and university libraries.

The NIU Foundation operates the fund. The foundation helps develop and increase educational opportunities at NIU by soliciting gifts, money, property, documents and any other educational materials, said foundation Executive Director Richard Ubl.