Barancik Funds Newest Ringling Masterpiece

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A new scholarship program at Ringling College of Art and Design will ensure students can get a degree there without taking on debt, and may just set up a new model for long-term education philanthropy. 

A $1-million endowment established by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation will provide recipients full tuition support at the Sarasota college for four years of study. The gift also established the foundation as the fourth member of the Ringling College Masterpiece Society. More than a prestigious title, the designation means the college will promise the new scholarship will forever cover tuition regardless of growth in the endowment or rise in price at the school. “We guarantee that as an institution,” says Ringling President Dr. Larry Thompson. “It’s a very special kind of thing.”

It proved enticing enough to inspire the largest scholarship gift yet from the Barancik Foundation, which launched in 2014. Teri Hansen, president and CEO of the foundation, says the scholarship will provide the means for talented students who otherwise would not get the chance to attend such a prestigious school. “Oftentimes, families aren’t inclined to take loans or go into heavy debt for an art degree,” Hansen says. “There is still this myth of the starving artist, but Rngling College has completely turned that around. This scholarship could have an impact on students and change their lives forever, because it lets them get a degree in their passion.”

Ringing officials say the idea of the Masterpiece Society and the guarantee of an endowment’s impact in perpetuity first came up in discussion in 2014. Ringing Trustee Michael Klein suggested the structure because he wanted certainty that a scholarship set up to completely provide for a student’s financial need would remain effective regardless of economic change in the future. Stacey Corley, Ringling vice president for advancement, said the idea proved enticing and officials explored how much money would be needed to provide such a guarantee. “You never know how an endowment will go, but it’s a long-term investment so it should grow over time to take care of variations in the marketplace,” she says.

Like all endowments, the college will only touch the spinoff funding from the endowment to fund the scholarship.Ultimately, the school determined if an endowment can be fully funded at $1 million, a guarantee will be provided by the college to cover tuition even if during certain years the endowment’s growth doesn’t cover the current price of tuition, and the corpus of the endowment still won’t be mined. Donors can create and contribute to a Masterpiece Society endowment over time and provide a percentage of tuition for recipients, but until the full $1-million funding is reached there’s no such guarantee.

Klein became the first Masterpiece Society member, establishing the Michael and Marcy Klein scholarship in 2017. Since then, Ringling donors John and Mary Ann Meyer funded a scholarship, as did donor Dale Strohl.

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