Donor pledges 30k over two years, calls for supporter match

An unnamed donor has pledged to match up to $15,000 in donations during 2017 to the Bob Graham Center for Public Service to expand financial support for student opportunities. This anonymous philanthropist has committed an additional $15,000 in 2018 for a similar incentive program.

"One of our generous donors has challenged Graham Center supporters to match a gift of $15,000 for 2017," said David Colburn, the center's director. “This donor has committed a second $15,000 in 2018, with the goal of persuading Graham supporters to also match that amount. The purpose of the gift is to revitalize the civic culture of Florida and the nation.”

"When I learned of the opportunity to attend the conference through the Bob Graham Center, I was all in, anxious to learn strategies to bridge the partisan divide."
Graham Center Student Hali McKinley Lester attended the National  Campaign Conference in 2017 hosted by Harvard's Institute of Politics

Colburn himself contributed the first $1,000 to meet the pledged amount. With the funds, the center hopes to establish a grant program that will provide need-based funding for undergraduates wishing to pursue civic-centered internships, research projects and professional conferences.

"Philanthropy of this sort guarantees that the center can continue connecting students with opportunities that enhance their academic experience and professional prospects," Colburn said.

For 10 years, the Bob Graham Center has supported innovative co-curricular initiatives. The Graham Civic Scholars program, which commissions students to conduct county-level research on statewide issues; the Healthy Civic Campus and Community initiative, a social entrepreneurship grant program; and the Future of Florida Summit, a gathering of students from Florida's colleges and universities to propose solutions to issues facing Florida, have all been established in the last five years.

These programs were added to an already impressive catalogue of programs including a minor in public leadership, the Tallahassee Internship Program and the Reubin Askew Scholars program.

"The Graham Center provides opportunities for nonpartisan civic engagement during the years in which UF students are learning new things, pursuing new passions and finding their place in the world," Colburn said. "Our hope is to ensure that these opportunities are available to all students that wish to take advantage of them."

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