The Stephen M. Ross School of Business is announcing a new initiative called Women Mean Business to encourage women donors to support the school through philanthropy.
The goal is to raise $50 million to go toward increasing access to a Ross business education, enhancing its top-ranked academic programs, and advancing impactful research at the school.
Gifts of $1 million or more from women will be included in Women Mean Business, and those gifts can be in any area that is of interest to the donor, such as student scholarships, faculty research or educational programming.
The school has already received five gifts from Ross alumnae, including three new gifts totalling $6.5 million, toward the initiative.
“Michigan Ross is fortunate to have so many accomplished alumnae who are committed to giving back, and we are thrilled to celebrate their transformational gifts to the school through the Women Mean Business initiative,” said Sharon F. Matusik, Edward J. Frey Dean of Business.
“Their tremendous support, along with the support of other successful women business leaders, helps Ross attract top students to our school, maintain our world-class academic excellence, and inspire more women to pursue careers in business.”
New gifts to the Ross School come from Sandra J. Mann, who gave $3 million; Lara Yates, who made a planned gift of $2.5 million; and Michele T. Takei, who bequeathed $1 million to the school.
The $2.5 million gift from Yates will be used to establish the Lara Wiklendt Scholarship Fund, an endowed scholarship to support Bachelor of Business Administration students in the undergraduate chapter of the student organization Michigan Business Women.
“I am passionate about helping women equalize the playing field in business and about helping them to succeed on a grand scale,” Yates said. “This is what I intend to accomplish through the Lara Wiklendt Scholarship.”
Takei said she has seen the impact that gifts to the Ross School can have on students. Her $1 million bequest will be added to the Michele T. Takei and Edward W. Unkart Fellowship Fund, which she established with an original gift in 1999, and provides scholarships to women in Ross Master of Business Administration programs.
“I am incredibly grateful to have received an MBA from the Ross School of Business, and I am honored that I can help other women do the same through our scholarship,” she said. “I think the Women Mean Business fundraising initiative is an exciting opportunity to harness our collective power to make a long-term positive impact on the school and its students.”
So far, three other Ross alumnae have contributed to the Women Mean Business initiative, with gifts totaling more than $11 million.
One of those alumnae is Jane Okun Bomba, with her husband, Gary Bomba, who committed $2 million in support for Ross students and faculty. Others who have contributed to the initiative are an anonymous alumna, who committed $5.1 million, and an anonymous alumni couple who gave $4 million.
Women Mean Business debuts a year after the school announced Foundations For Success, with the goal of increasing access to its top-ranked business programs and supporting students. Ross has already received over $50 million toward that initiative.