WCU Now Needs to Raise $35,000 to Meet the Match Goal by December 31
WEST CHESTER, PA (November 13, 2019) ---- On the evening of November 11, a surprise call from Ira Lubert of the Lubert Family Charitable Foundation challenged West Chester University to raise $50,000 each year for the next five years in order to make a current pilot program permanent for non-degree seeking students with intellectual disabilities; a total of $250,000 has been pledged over the next five consecutive years. In return, Mr. Lubert has committed to match the $50,000 dollar-for-dollar if the University, in turn, raises another $50,000 each year for the next five years. To date, the University has raised $15,000 toward the RAM Initiative and must now raise an additional $35,000 by December 31 to meet the match goal. The funds raised will support the RAM Initiative program for 2020-2021.
For the past two years, the RAM (Real Achievement Matters) Initiative pilot has enabled three current non-degree seeking students with intellectual disabilities to have a full, residential, college-immersion experience at West Chester University. As the season of giving officially begins, this very special pilot program now needs much more giving as its initial phase nears conclusion. The University has established that ongoing direct and indirect costs will increase $100,000 each year to sustain the RAM Initiative. Committed to making the pilot a permanent program that will enable one-to-two additional students with intellectual disabilities to enjoy a full college experience at WCU on an annual basis, WCU has joined forces with its West Chester University Foundation and the families of its three current RAM Initiative students to raise $100,000.
“The kindness of Mr. Lubert and the Lubert Family Charitable Foundation, together with all those in our community who have given so generously, is palpable and indicative of the support for student success,” said Deputy Provost Jeffery Osgood. “So many have come together to rally support for our RAM Initiative students and a pilot program that can truly transform lives if funded to be a permanent program. The WCU community is especially grateful. We will continue to work hard to raise the funds challenged by Mr. Lubert and our RAM Initiative students will continue to thrive.”
As a pilot, modest funding was initially secured from The DREAM Partnership and currently the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium (a United States Department of Education Transition and Post-Secondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities grant). During this pilot phase, numerous volunteer hours were also donated by staff. To establish a more permanent program, staff with special skills will need to be hired. With the waning of grant funds, WCU is ensuring that it plans for the program’s continuation with or without grant funding.
The University remains committed to fulfilling its promise to the three students currently in the program and looks forward to seeing them through the entire completion of their certificates; two of the students will receive certificates of completion during commencement in May 2020 and the third student will receive a certificate of completion during commencement in May 2021.
To help with the planning for the program’s long-term sustainability, the RAM Initiative fund has been established by the WCU Foundation for restricted use of this program only. Community members may contribute to the RAM Initiative through the Foundation’s webpage: www.wcufoundation.org
Enrolling more than 17,000 students, West Chester University is the largest member of the 14-institution Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Founded in 1871, the University is a comprehensive public institution, offering a diverse range of more than 200 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 50 fields of study. In addition to the main campus in West Chester, the University offers programs through its graduate center, the campus in Philadelphia, and online. Six colleges and two schools comprise the University: University College, Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Business and Public Management, Education and Social Work, Health Sciences, and the Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the Wells School of Music, and the Graduate School.