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This Fresno University Hopes to Cash in on $1.5 Million Matching Challenge
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 1 month ago on
April 30, 2024

Fresno Pacific University is seeking donors to match a $1.5 million challenge match donation. (Paul Marshall/GV Wire Composite)

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Fresno Pacific University has the opportunity to raise $3 million — but only if donors pony up enough to match the $1.5 million pledged by longtime benefactors Al and Dotty Warkentine.

“It’s to try to shake people loose. One thing we’ve always said was the first time we gave $10,000 it was hard to do, the first time we gave $100,000 it was difficult … but the more you do that the easier it gets.” — Fresno Pacific supporter Al Warkentine

Any gift, except for capital and endowment donations, will qualify for the match. The challenge’s deadline is June 30.

Al Warkentine, a retired dentist and avid investor who was a member of the university’s first board of trustees, said the match challenge might motivate those who have never donated before.

“It’s to try to shake people loose. One thing we’ve always said was the first time we gave $10,000 it was hard to do, the first time we gave $100,000 it was difficult … but the more you do that the easier it gets,” he said in a news release.

Making a Difference

The university says donations to the matching fund, no matter how small or large, will make a big difference for the 3,000 students at its campuses in southeast Fresno, Visalia, Merced, Bakersfield, and online. Fresno Pacific has had to trim programs and staffing in recent years.

“It is a pleasure to witness firsthand donors’ unwavering dedication to FPU,” University President André Stephens said. “Their commitment enables us to cultivate an environment where students can flourish and grow in their academic pursuits and faith journeys.”

Fresno Pacific is a private Christian university affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Church.

Liz Garvin, vice president for advancement and executive director of the FPU Foundation, said the university is grateful for the Warkentines’ continued generosity: “They truly believe in FPU’s mission and want to share that mission with others.”

University Known for ‘Family Feeling’

The Warkentines, who are the namesakes of the Warkentine Culture and Arts Center on the southeast Fresno campus, call the university their mission field, and they acknowledge its strong sense of community.

“I talked to one faculty member recently that said the wonderful thing about teaching at Fresno Pacific is the family feeling they had with the faculty and staff. That’s important,” Al Warkentine said.

Donors can contribute online at fpu.edu/give.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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