SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– This year, the Missouri State Foundation is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Founded in 1981, MSU established its foundation to help raise more private funds.

“The governor at the time said if you are to get other state money, you need to raise money,” MSF executive director Brent Dunn said. “So we started a foundation.”

Dunn said MSU was the last of the five regional schools to do so.

“Throughout those 40 years, we’ve had literally thousands and thousands of donors that have made a big difference in the campus,” Dunn said. “If it wasn’t for private gifts the campus would look totally different, feel totally different and ultimately what all these gifts do would be to change lives.”

Lives like that of MSU junior Lindsey Hendrix.

“I really rely on scholarships to cover my education costs,” Hendrix said. “My main goal is to graduate with no debt, so having that opportunity being granted a scholarship means a lot because it’s allowed me to continue my higher education. I really appreciate it.”

Hendrix said if it wasn’t for the foundation’s help, it’s likely she wouldn’t be able to pursue her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.

“I just want to help educate the future leaders of our world and be the best teacher I can be, because our future depends on it,” Hendrix said.

Dunn says scholarships will always be a part of the foundation.

“That’s something you don’t necessarily see – like, in terms of buildings, it can be the difference on whether you get a higher education or not,” Dunn said.

More than a million dollars a year in scholarships are awarded to Missouri State students. Dunn said they’ve created a number of covid-friendly events to take place this year as a way to say thanks to the foundation’s donors.