Building a home
One U of M alum supports a cause close to her heart: helping students who are homeless

Susan Allison-Hatch, ’70 B.A., won’t forget the young boy and his eagerness to learn despite having no permanent residence, nor the girl who was determined to keep reading while staying in a homeless shelter. They’re just a few examples of the types of students she’s hoping to help through the A Place to Call Home Scholarship, which she recently established.

A retired Episcopal priest living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Allison-Hatch spent eight years working with people experiencing homelessness. “What struck me was the courage, kindness, and dignity of people who live on the streets,” she says of the many individuals she met, fed, and ministered to.

Hearing their stories inspired her earlier this year to establish the scholarship, which is being funded with current gifts and a gift in her will. The scholarship is designated for U of M Twin Cities undergraduate students who are homeless or have experienced homelessness. 

“I envision young men and women having their lives changed because they can go to the University of Minnesota and find a different path,” says the Minnesota native, who once taught American history.

Homeless students are an invisible population. Because homelessness is not a static state, the number of students on college campuses experiencing it at any one time is difficult to estimate. A 2018 Wisconsin HOPE Lab study of students at 35 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. found 9 percent were homeless and 36 percent experienced housing insecurity in the past year. 

In addition, nearly a quarter of students who had spent time in foster care were homeless and 60 percent were housing insecure. The U estimates between 65 and 75 students on the Twin Cities campus are experiencing homelessness.

“My hope is that this scholarship provides people who have lived on the streets or who have bounced through foster care the opportunity to develop their minds and skills in a way that will enable them to thrive in the world,” Allison-Hatch says.


Further a favorite cause

By making a gift to the University of Minnesota, donors can change lives in many ways. They can support life-saving research, provide scholarships to deserving students, and extend the University’s reach throughout the state, the country, and even the world.

Donors can direct their gifts to one or more areas that reflect their values or passions. They can establish a named endowed fund to support a cause that’s important to them, in many cases for as little as $25,000, which can be paid over five years. Donors also can make an estate commitment and use that gift to start a new fund or support an existing one.

The Planned Giving staff at the University of Minnesota Foundation is happy to work with you and your clients to determine the gift options that will best accomplish your clients’ goals. You can contact us at 612-624-3333 or

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