March 6, 2015

Raising Funds, Lifting Spirits

Marisa Schoen’s campaign to send a young woman to college

Erin Inclan
BMKF Communications/Education Committee

Looking for a way to make an impact in the coming year? Consider sponsoring a Bo M. Karlsson Foundation scholar. Sponsorships help guarantee funding for BMKF scholars and offer something more. Students say it is profoundly uplifting to know that someone else cares and supports their goals.

Donors like Marisa Schoen say the experience is inspirational for them, too. Longtime BMKF donors, Marisa and her husband Darren previously sponsored Sarita Sharma (Class of 2014)–a recent graduate and one of Nepal’s first women electronic engineers. This year they chose to sponsor Sarita’s sister Babita, a civil engineer. But Marisa wanted to do more. “I knew the Foundation had an initiative to give scholarships to women with disabilities and I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Marisa said, “so I decided I wanted to fundraise to send an additional student to school this year.”

One custom webpage, 700 emails, and a $2,500 goal

“Some folks donated $10, some $100–but as you can imagine, it takes awhile to raise $2,500 in $10 increments,” Marisa said. Undaunted, Marisa made 20 pairs of earrings and took them to work as gifts for colleagues who donated. Her friend Julie made Rice Krispies treats to sell and together they recruited donations in the lunchroom. “I work at Microsoft and the response was wonderful, the people kind, and the earrings and treats a hit. The individual donations and Microsoft’s matching funds gave me the boost I needed to make my fundraising goal,” Marisa said. “It’s wonderful to make an impact on a person’s life. My family and friends are sending a young woman to college and I cannot express how heartwarming that thought is for me.”