When a donor gives to the McKay School of Education or BYU, one would expect the donor to give to something they believe in. This is true, especially at BYU. In 2020, the year of COVID, we saw donors open up their hearts and their funds. Depending on how accounting folks want to tally it, approximately $3 million to more than $4 million in endowments and major gifts was received, all to the benefit of our students. 

A couple years ago, the university’s board of trustees determined that fundraising at BYU is to go toward student financial aid, such as scholarships and experiential learning—see the BYU fundraising website. And the Church’s Philanthropies department has been focused on our donors and where they are inclined to give. The result in 2020 for the McKay School was tremendous. 

Those who are donating are not just McKay School alumni, but also others who are inspired to give to our wonderful students who are heeding the call to be a teacher, be an administrator, or be a professional in communication disorders. For the 2020–21 academic year—of the students who applied—72.5 percent received scholarship assistance from the McKay School. Of those students, 37.2 percent received full scholarships and 35.2 percent received partial scholarships. We still have a way to go, but the addition of the 2020 donations for future scholarship cycles will be of great help! 

I hope you find this to be as impressive and inspiring as I do, especially in a year where donors might have been inclined to hold back. Instead, they chose to invest in our students and a bright future.

Michael Leonard