IU becomes first to create sanctioned scholarship fund for GLBT students

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Indiana University is leading the country by offering unprecedented support for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender students.

The IU Alumni Association has signed on to a new fundraising campaign for the first ever university-sanctioned scholarship fund for GLBT Students.

For years, IU has had its own GLBT Alumni Association, which has offered a combination of academic and emergency scholarships for students who lose financial support from their families because they came out. Now, the University is getting behind an effort to raise enough money to create an endowed scholarship fund.

Matt Bloom came out as a freshman at IU and knew he could turn to GLBT Support Services. Now, a year later, Bloom says he’s also receiving financial support thanks to an academic scholarship from the GLBT Alumni Association.

“It’s life changing,” Bloom said. “It’s just given me the most confidence I’ve ever had in my entire life.”

Since 2005, the GLBT Alumni Association has awarded 24 academic scholarships and another 11 emergency scholarships, which provide much needed financial assistance to students who suddenly lose support from their parents.

“I can remember a woman several years ago saying, when I felt like I lost my family, I felt like I gained another family,” said Doug Bauder, Office Coordinator for IU GLBT Support Services.

That university family now also includes the entire IU Alumni Association, which is helping lead efforts to create the GLBT scholarship fund.

“We are really proud that this is the first campaign of this magnitude at any other institution of our size and reputation,” said J Thomas Forbes, Executive Director and CEO of the IU Alumni Association. “It’s all made possible by generous donors who want to come forward to help us support GLBT students.”

The campaign has already generated more than $200,000 in donations and an anonymous donor has promised to match up to $500,000. The goal is to create a $1 million endowment.

“The great thing about this endowment is it will give us a base amount of money to be able to give out every year,” Forbes said. “Whereas, currently we really have to raise money on an annual basis to really meet this need.”

That money means more students like Bloom will have an opportunity to receive both emotional and financial support from the GLBT community, and he says that’s something you can’t put a price on.

“It really gives me hope for the future, just my future in being able to grow up and have a family and feel like I’m not any different than anybody else,” Bloom said.

For more information on the scholarship campaign go to: http://alumni.indiana.edu/affiliates/glbt/supporting-community/index.html

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