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MAYVILLE -- Mayville State University Foundation Director John Klocke said the first I'm Thankful for Mayville State Day fundraising event was so surprisingly successful he hopes to do it again.

The day-long phone call campaign and email blast conducted on April 28 resulted in $25,000 worth of donations matched by $11,620 from the foundation.

"The phone just kept ringing all day long," Klocke said.

Annual fundraising totals have fluctuated in the past five years at Mayville State, according to numbers provided by Klocke. He said $1 million of the $1.4 million raised in the 2011-12 fiscal year was from a single anonymous donor.

In the years after, annual totals stayed below $1 million until the 2014-15 fiscal, when it peaked at $1.5 million, something Klocke said happened because of one large grant. So far this year, the fundraising total sits at $1.2 million.

"I do think being small allows us to change and be able to do a little bit more with the resources we have," Klocke said. "We're kind of forced to do that. We need to provide a good educational product for the student."

The number of individual donors dipped down to 1,233 in the 2013-14 fiscal year, but it has increased overall in the last five years from 1,447 in fiscal year 2011-12 to 1,558 this year.

The university has about 12,000 alumni nationwide, and Klocke said the foundation regularly sends out direct mail seeking donations but also makes personal visits in some cases, as about 70 percent of alumni live in the Red River Valley. Alumni events also are held in states like Arizona and California.

The foundation's endowment, which is an account from which the university earns interest, has increased from $1.9 million in fiscal year 2012-13 to $4.7 million this year.

Klocke attributed the growth of the endowment fund and donations overall to available match dollars from the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund Grant, a state program that gives $1 for every $2 in private donations.

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"Between the match and getting the word out, we've seen some really nice increases," he said.

Most of the money raised by the foundation goes toward scholarships or the endowment, Klocke said.

Over the last two years, dollars have been raised to fund an online registered nurse for the Bachelor's of Science in Nursing program to address the state's health care worker shortage.

Klocke said a priority in the near future is raising $1.3 million that will be matched with $2.6 from the challenge fund for artificial baseball and football field turf.

"At a small school like Mayville, students tend to be students first and athletes second, but students still take a look at those facilities," he said.

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