Alumni fuel SIFE endowment

Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) teams are known for having a “head for business and a heart for the world.” Mount Mercy University’s SIFE team lives that motto every day, and in more ways than one. Their efforts in helping grow and sustain businesses in the local community have won them regional championships on an annual basis, but more importantly, they have helped lay the groundwork for additional opportunities for legions of future students.

In Fall 2009, Mount Mercy launched the SIFE Endowed Fund (Title III). In its first year, the endowment raised nearly $10,000. With the additional help of a federal Title III matching grant, the SIFE endowment holds $20,000, solidifying the ability for Mount Mercy students to participate in additional projects, community outreach and team resources.

Two successful Mount Mercy and SIFE alumni, Nate Klein ’07 and Tony Dickinson ’02, provided the spark that ignited the idea, and with partnership from the Office of Alumni Affairs, the endowment kicked off at the first annual SIFE reunion during Homecoming 2009.

“This is something we felt we had to give back to because of all the great things we have taken away from the organization,” says Klein, whose SIFE experience helped solidify his success as a Supervisor of the Process Innovation team at Aflac.

Instrumental to building the success of the endowment were SIFE alumni and team advisors Tom Castle, associate professor of business and dean of adult accelerated programs, and Anne King, lecturer of business. Current SIFE students also worked with faculty members, corporations and SIFE Business Advisory Board members to encourage contributions.

“This fund will help sustain the growth and outreach of current projects, but it will also afford [current SIFE students] the opportunity to create projects on a larger scale to increase impact,” says Klein. “This fund will allow each generation to build the best projects that will change the Cedar Rapids community, one person at a time.”

King agrees that the endowment’s potential scope of outreach will serve as a powerful catalyst for future SIFE leaders. “We are growing a new generation of thinking, feeling, energizing adults,” she says. “The sky’s the limit when you have the understanding that you can change the world from here.”

“SIFE has inspired me to make the world a better place each and every day,” says Klein. “That’s why I continue to be involved with an organization that has given so much to me and the community.”

For more information on the SIFE Endowed Fund (Title III), contact Hilery Livengood, director of major and planned gifts, at 319-368-6468 or e-mail