York surpasses target in double-your-donation program

Many York students won’t have to work part time in the coming years thanks to an infusion of $2.4 million in endowed student support through generous donations and matching funds from the Ontario Student Opportunities Trust Fund (OSOTF). 


Above: Karen Montgomery was able to spend more time on her studies and extracurricular activities after receiving The Yorke Towne Supplies Award in 2002

The York University Foundation reports that since the OSOTF program began in March 2003, more than $1.2 million has been raised from friends of York, through major gifts, the Annual Fund, and the Faculty, Staff and Retirees Campaign. The money raised will be endowed and matched dollar-for-dollar by the Ontario government. This fundraising achievement surpasses this year’s $1 million target in matching funds set for York by the Ontario government.

“This is a major accomplishment,” said Paul Marcus, president & CEO of the York University Foundation. “We thank all of York’s many generous donors, including alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and friends of the University, for seizing this opportunity to double the impact of their support through the OSOTF program.”

First conducted in the late 1990s, the OSOTF program was re-launched by the provincial government last year to help ensure access to university programs for eligible, financially constrained students by matching donations to student financial assistance.

“Financial support makes a tremendous difference to the quality of life and the full absorption of the university experience for thousands of York students,” said Bonnie Neuman, vice-president students. “We are tremendously grateful to the York community and others for investing in the success of our students. Your support makes a big difference in their lives.”

The first OSOTF program allowed York to offer critical financial assistance to talented students facing financial obstacles to success. Kevin Muise was one such student who benefited from the OSTOF.

Right: Kevin Muise gained confidence and self-esteem in addition to financial support when he received the Dr. Allen T. Lambert Scholars Award in 2003

Muise, a graduate of the Joint York/Sheridan Program in Design, said he received much more than money after being awarded the Dr. Allen T. Lambert Scholars Award in 2003 for $2,800. “The Award boosted my morale and self-esteem. It showed me that all of my effort was paying off, which caused me to become even more focused on my studies.” he said.

Muise now works as a consultant for the Communications Studies program at York University. He provides web design services to the program.

Karen Montgomery is another student who has benefited from the OSOTF fund. In 2002, Montgomery received The Yorke Towne Supplies Award. The award, which amounted to $3,700, helped Montgomery, a Faculty of Arts student, improve her grades and provided her with an opportunity to participate more fully in the University experience.

“Not having to work part time meant I could focus on my studies and get involved in extracurricular activities, which allowed me to develop as a person in a way I may not have been able to otherwise, ” Montgomery said. “My grades have improved considerably this past year. I attribute that to increased concentration and having more time to devote to being a student.”

The OSOTF timetable

In order to take full advantage of the OSOTF program, York must raise $29 million in private funds by 2005. All gifts and pledges confirmed prior to December 31, 2005 can be paid over a number of years until March 31, 2011. Donors of gifts of $12,500 or more can be recognized for their generous support by having the award, established by their gift, named in their honour, or in the name of someone they wish to honour. 

This article was submitted by Carrie Brodi, communications officer at the York University Foundation.