OLLI@UND in Grand Forks
How is OLLI Funded?
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI@UND) emphasizes collaborative leadership and active member participation. It is because of the substantial support from The Bernard Osher Foundation, the University of North Dakota, Bismarck State College, and membership fees that we are able to offer these unique educational opportunities to residents of these communities and beyond. Collectively, they fund OLLI@UND operating costs.
In September 2010, after exceeding the goal of 500 OLLI members, we were invited by The Bernard Osher Foundation to apply for a $1,000,000 endowment and were gifted in March 2011. This endowment allows OLLI to have partial funding in perpetuity with the endowment, providing approximately $40,000-$50,000 (interest on investment) toward our annual operations in lieu of the $100,000 we have been receiving during each of the last four years. Obviously, the potential impact of receiving this generous gift is enormous and will provide great stability for the future.
This new stability, however, is not without challenges. Our operating revenue is cut by 50% as a result. Endowment principle (the one million dollars) can never be spent. Rather, the $1 million gifted to OLLI@UND will be invested and the Institute will receive a portion of the annual interest each year.
Our focus is to retain and increase our membership, increase our class enrollments, and become self-sustaining. With increased volunteer efforts and the support of our members, we will succeed!
OLLI@UND Receives $1 Million Endowment from Bernard Osher Foundation
UND is pleased to announce that The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded a $1 million endowment for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI@UND). The endowment will allow the Institute to operate in perpetuity and demonstrates the program’s success in offering quality courses and educational opportunities for members aged 50 and older.
“We are thrilled at this $1 million endowment because there is a definite need for the program in North Dakota,” said UND President Robert Kelley. “This is a wonderful development for The University, OLLI@UND and its members who so strongly support this unique program. UND will continue developing creative educational programming for mature learners.”
With its first Osher Foundation grant of $100,000 in 2007, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute began the development of community-based lifelong learning programs for people 50 and older in the Grand Forks area. Continued funding led to the rapid expansion of OLLI into Bismarck in 2009 through a partnership with Bismarck State College (BSC). From an initial offering of a few courses with less than 20 students on the UND campus, Osher has grown to more than 600 members who have enjoyed more than 200 courses across the two primary sites: Grand Forks and Bismarck. Additional sites will be added to the state; Minot State University has expressed strong interest in the OLLI program already.
“UND and BSC have a long history of relationships, and we look forward to developing more,” said BSC President Larry Skogen, who was linked up to the press conference at UND through the statewide interactive video network. “The OLLI program is excellent for us because it’s part of our strategic plan to connect with lifelong learners. We rolled this program out to retirees in the area, and they absolutely love it. People tell me that they’re really happy to stay intellectually engaged. We’re really appreciated that UND delivered to us a wonderful program that meets all of our strategic needs.”
“This is a very exciting time for OLLI@UND,” said Lynette Krenelka, Director of OLLI. The Osher endowment will allow us to continue to lead the way in offering university-quality educational experiences for those who wish to learn for the sheer joy that comes from gathering together with your new found friends to discuss topics of which you have not yet explored.”
Connie Hodgson, OLLI Coordinator adds “Reaching this goal could not have been possible without the tenacity of its members, the overwhelming support of the University, the generosity of our partners and sponsors, and all of our incredible instructors."
To learn more about funding for OLLI, visit The Bernard Osher Foundation.