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State Program Boosts Private Investment in Public Higher Ed

After strong response from donors, UML offers its own matching gift program

Young black woman stands with two older white men
Michael Mulligan ’85, center, with student Jolanda Regis and William Perciballi ’86, is one of more than 75 UML donors who have made nearly $2 million in commitments as part of the new Endowment Match Program.


In December, the state Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker passed a supplemental budget that provides a boost for private investment in the University of Massachusetts.

To incentivize private support for public higher education, the Legislature earmarked $5 million for UMass in the Endowment Match Program, which provides $1 in state matching funds for every $2 raised privately, up to an appropriated limit. Already, more than 75 UML donors have made nearly $2 million in commitments to start or grow endowed scholarships and faculty research funds, leveraging almost $1 million in matching funds.

“This gift isn’t about me — it’s about supporting the next generation of students and nuclear engineering’s role in a renewable energy world,” says Joseph Donahue ’77, a retired vice president at Duke Energy Co. With his wife, Ann, Donahue made a $250,000 commitment to support the Nuclear Engineering program, to expand external partnerships and increase student opportunities for research and travel.

Michael Mulligan ’85 and his wife, Mary, were the first donors to take advantage of the program, making a new $200,000 commitment to the scholarship they’d endowed in honor of Mike’s father, an immigrant who made sure all his children received good educations so they could achieve the American dream. Thanks to their latest gift, the Mulligan Scholarship will provide a full tuition scholarship to an engineering student whose parents are immigrants.

Martha Mayo ’92, retired director of  the Center for Lowell History, is one of several UML faculty and staff who also contributed through the program. Her new $50,000 commitment to her existing endowment will support academic and cultural programming for students in the Art & Design Department.

When Chancellor Moloney learned that UML was reaching the limit of its appropriated matching funds, she received permission from UMass President Marty Meehan to use $1.5 million from the university’s own endowment for additional matching funds. 

“It was clear that this short-term program could have an important long-term impact on our students,” Chancellor Moloney says. As with the state-funded program, UML will provide $1 in matching funds for every $2 that private donors contribute to endowed funds, for pledges of $5,000 or more. The program will continue through the end of the current fiscal year.

For more information, please contact the following Advancement officers: