YPSILANTI, Mich. (April 27, 2020) – In response to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the economy and job market, GameAbove today announced it has created the Alumni Pay-it-Forward fund to provide immediate financial support to 2,270 Eastern Michigan University (EMU) students who graduated over the weekend, as well as similar gifts to all new freshmen enrolling next fall.
GameAbove, a group of EMU alumni that previously donated in the past six months more than $13 million supporting a variety of initiatives on and off-campus, recognizes the need to ease economic hardships created by the global pandemic. This is especially true for new college graduates as they decide in the coming weeks how to pursue their future, as well as for those about to embark on their first college path.
The GameAbove’s new Alumni Pay-it-Forward fund announced today it will donate at least $2 million to Eastern Michigan University to help students. This includes an immediate gift of nearly $600* for each EMU April 2020 graduate, without obligations or restrictions regarding eligibility or use. The donation also includes a $400 gift that will be made in the fall to each new incoming freshman student to help them get started in a year filled with uncertainty and anxiety over COVID-19.
“Due to the recent downfall in the job market, many graduates may take an interest in pursuing a postgraduate degree,” said James M. Smith, EMU President. “GameAbove’s gift to the graduates comes at a great time, helping provide additional financial resources to further their education with the university. We extend our deepest gratitude to GameAbove and its members for their continued support of our students and faculty. And, without question, the gift to incoming students recognizes the incredible financial hardship that has been placed on students and their families due to this crisis.”
Though there is no payback required, GameAbove hopes that the gift instills continued pride in the University and confidence that EMU has strong alumni support.
“We understand the true challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused and GameAbove wants to help,” said GameAbove spokesperson Denis Wolcott. “Eastern Michigan University alumni are built strong and will have each other’s back when needed. Our mission has always been to give back and pay-it-forward to the EMU family. We wanted to give more to the graduates. Nevertheless, GameAbove hopes that down the road its gift today to our new fellow alumni will be paid forward to the University at some point in their lifetime.”
“Graduation is about celebrating great efforts, hard work and goals accomplished,” said Keith J. Stone, a GameAbove advisory board member and EMU graduate. “This special graduating class deserves this recognition and our full attention. The current pandemic has already tested their resolve to deal with very challenging times in our world of fear and loss. This recent life experience will certainly strengthen their lives forever as they move forward, seeking new hope and lasting successes beyond our wildest imagination.
“We need to champion the efforts of this graduating class and encourage their vision to help others along the way,” Stone continued. “We also want to provide a level of support and confidence to those incoming freshmen who will pursue a college degree at a premier university and realize the added support that GameAbove has for them."
GameAbove Advisory Board members also expressed their congratulations to the new group of graduates through a special video message, which can be viewed here.
EMU Spring 2020 graduates can visit www.emich.edu/gameabove/alumni-pay-it-forward for additional details on how to receive their gift. Details for how incoming freshmen for the fall semester will receive this grant will be posted on this website soon.
*Note: Income tax rules limit GameAbove to individual gifts of $599 or less.
At GameAbove, our primary focus is to help shape, inspire and support the current and future students of Eastern Michigan University by reaching new heights in learning through transformation and inspiration in the educational experience. Together, we will strive for that next level of success with a GameAbove all others. The GameAbove family of organizations will also help improve the higher education experience by exploring and supporting the use of innovative financial models to sustain universities, creative giving within the community, enhancing the campus environment, elevating athletics, and promoting pioneering academic programs. www.gameabove.com
Media contact for GameAbove:
Denis Wolcott, 213-200-1563, DWolcott@FraserCommunications.com