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University looks to Columns Fund, private donations in face of budget cuts
Sep 07, 2013 | 371 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Northwestern State University Foundation is launching an initiative to sustain the university’s role as an educational and cultural resource in northwest Louisiana.  

The Foundation created the Columns Fund giving program as a vehicle to fund programs and initiatives that support academic endeavors, scholarships, alumni programming, recruiting and retention.

“Northwestern State has not been immune to deep cuts in state funding,” said Dr. Chris Maggio, executive director of the NSU Foundation.  

Dollars for university projects and programs previously provided by the state must now be generated through increased student tuition and an increase in private donations.  

“As our resources have diminished we find it necessary to refocus efforts in university development and are seeking partnerships from within the community.  The Columns Fund is an opportunity for businesses and individuals to support Northwestern State as we continue a tradition of excellence established in 1884.”

The Columns Fund, the university’s main source of unrestricted dollars, is divided into two separate giving opportunities, the Founder’s Circle and the Excellence Team.  

The financial commitment to join the Founder’s Circle is at least a $1,000 tax-deductible gift to the NSU Foundation, while the financial commitment to join the Excellence Team is any contribution under $1,000.

“Our goal is to raise at least $200,000 annually towards the Columns Fund between these two giving programs combined,” Maggio said.

 “These unrestricted funds are critical in ensuring that Northwestern State continues its mission in educating students, contributing to the regional workforce and enhancing the quality of life in northwest Louisiana.”

Chili’s of Natchitoches is among the newest members of the Founder’s Circle.  General Manager Lane Dunn said his company’s corporate culture promotes interest in its communities as a show of appreciation.

“The community is important to us because the community keeps us going,” said Dunn, who earned undergraduate (2002) and graduate (2005) degrees at Northwestern State.  “So many of our employees are connected with the university.  A large number of our employees who work directly with guests are NSU students and much of our business is generated by people from the university.”

Angela Lasyone of Lasyone’s Meatpie Kitchen said Northwestern State’s presence has been beneficial to her family’s business for many years.

 “We need to keep enrollment up because it reflects the economics of the city,” Lasyone said. “It’s definitely helped our business.  Anything we can do to get students here and anything anyone can give is a big help.”

Funds generated by the Columns Circle will offer support for academic department and organizations, faculty and staff support, student scholarships, campus/community projects, faculty/staff recognition, alumni events, printing and postage for marketing materials, support for community and regional partnerships and enhances civil, cultural and educational and economic development endeavors.

All contributions make a significant impact on Northwestern State’s future, Maggio said.

“The financial commitment to join the Founder’s Circle is an investment in the future of Northwestern State University and all its stakeholders,” Maggio said.  

“Our university is more than bricks and mortar. We are a family.  We are an institution of learning and discovery.  We are a place where individuals of all ages find resources and mentors to enrich themselves, their lives, their careers and their communities.”

For more information on levels of giving, e-mail Maggio at or call the NSU Foundation at (318) 357-4414 or (888) 799 6486.  

Information is also available at  

All gifts are tax deductible and should be made payable to the NSU Foundation.

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