As election night 2018 unfolded, University of Washington student Alfred Mugho spoke to a room of entrepreneurs in Seattle about the America he knows—the land of opportunity. Mugho, then a third-year Foster School of Business student in the Lavin Entrepreneurship program, had just received the alumni entrepreneurship scholarship. The gift is organized and supported by longtime Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship supporter Nathan McDonald of Keiretsu Capital. Mugho told McDonald and others in the room that the gift would help him “reach his full potential” as a first-generation American who came to the Pacific Northwest from Kenya.
“This scholarship is more than aid. It’s a belief in what I’m doing, a belief in my goals, and what I can do,” said Mugho. “I want to give back to scholarships in the future, not just for entrepreneurs, but for people in Africa who have had similar experiences as me.”
McDonald hopes that moving forward, the UW Entrepreneurship Alumni Scholarship will be able to support more students like Mugho in even greater ways. “We’re excited to multiply the effort going forward to hopefully have an even larger scholarship to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
He’s quick to point out that any alumni contribution at the special dinner (tickets here) on November 6 will also be matched as part of the annual Matching Days at the Foster School. “The UW has contributed so much to my entrepreneurial journey and everything that we’ve created (at Keiretsu). Our alumni are out there and care. It is really important to show that we can give back not just with our time, but with capital.”
Alumni do not have to attend the dinner to take part. The matching days page on the Foster School’s website allows renewing donors (if you’ve given in the last three fiscal years) to receive a 50% match for gifts up to $2,000. New donors, and those who haven’t made a gift for more than three years, receive a 100% match for gifts up to $1,000. But anyone familiar with fundraising knows it is about so much more.
“We work each and every day to create impact in our community by empowering student entrepreneurs to do what they do best,” said Amy Sallin, director of the Buerk Center. “This year’s scholarship award winner will be a fantastic example of that. Alfred is a fantastic example of that. And it’s the support of alumni and the entrepreneurial community in this region that help create that opportunity.”
Mugho certainly has capitalized on the support. He will graduate in 2020 with a business degree focused on finance and marketing, as well as a certificate from the sales program. “I believe in the fact that people create their own luck by seeking out help, by seeking out opportunity, and by going out and making things happen,” said Mugho. “I am in love with perseverance. I persist. I’m scrappy. I’m gritty. And I’ll do whatever it takes to make my dreams and goals a reality.”