Mabee grant boosts Baker University Mulvane Hall project funding
Baker University recently took a big step forward in raising funds for the Mulvane Transformation Project.
The university found out this month the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., has made a challenge grant of $750,000 toward the renovation and addition to Mulvane Science Hall on the Baldwin City campus.
“It’s wonderful, and it’s a wonderful place to start and as we go out and talk to potential donors,” Baker Chief Operating Officer Susan Lindahl said. “Having that commitment from the Mabee Foundation is a very powerful message that it is a significant project for the current and for future students. It just couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s wonderful.”
The grant not only is the largest single gift the Mabee Foundation has ever given to Baker but also ranks as the fifth largest one-time donation to Baker since the university was founded. Baker’s University Advancement staff will also raise $750,000 to match the grant.
“They will match the funds, and people are much more willing to give if they’re giving toward a match,” Lindahl said. “So in other words, they know that their gift will count and count again because someone else is going to match that. And so it’s a powerful incentive for giving.”
Lindahl said University President Pat Long, Lyn Lakin, vice president for university advancement, and Jerry Weakley, vice president for endowment and planned giving, have been on the road fundraising and are excited to get the grant matched as soon as possible.
“I do think that we have individuals who believe that this is the right project at the right time, and I think the Mabee grant gives it a powerful momentum and that was what we were hoping for and we’re certainly excited about it,” Lindahl said.
Construction of the 9,000-square-foot-addition to the building is set to begin in the fall, before renovation is done to the inside of the existing building. Mulvane Science Hall, which has been the home of the biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and information technology departments, was built in the 1920s, and the cost of the Mulvane Transformation Project is $10.3 million.
“The Mabee Foundation challenge grant comes at a crucial time in our fundraising for the project,” Long said in a press release from the university Friday. “We look forward to meeting that challenge over the next year through the generous support of Baker’s alumni and friends. The Mabee Foundation has supported us for many years, and we are deeply grateful for their faithful partnership in helping Baker become an even more significant leader in providing education to our students.”