Tia Wiggins always thought endowments were created by alumni who were extremely wealthy, had trust funds, or had long-term, successful careers.
“I do not fall into any of these categories. I don’t have deep pockets,” says Wiggins, a 2007 business administration alumna and human resources manager for Northrop Grumman’s Technology Services sector.
Despite that, at just 33, she’s managed to establish the Tia S. Wiggins Endowed Scholarship Fund, a $25,000 commitment to the UNCG Excellence Foundation. Beginning in 2019, two scholarships from her endowment will be awarded to Bryan School of Business and Economics students based on financial need, with special consideration for minority students.
“This award focuses on leadership characteristics and attributes. Recipients are expected to be givers from the heart and driven to create opportunities for others in need. My vision is that the scholarships provide encouragement and lighten the financial burden to enable recipients to be more engaged in their college experience,” says Wiggins.
Wiggins received the J. Norman Black & William F. Black Endowed Business Scholarship as a Bryan School student, which reduced her financial burden and allowed her to focus on leadership and extracurricular activities. She was president of the Black Business Students Association and the Student Advisory Council. Upon graduation, she received the Bryan Achievement and Leadership Award.
After graduating, Wiggins earned an MBA in international management and finance from Northeastern University, served on the UNCG Alumni Association Board of Directors, and has taken on philanthropic leadership roles including in Women United of the United Way of the National Capital Area.
Promoting Promising Futures
Wiggins credits her employer for financially supporting her initiative. Northrop Grumman encourages and recognizes employee giving by offering matching gifts when employees donate to qualifying educational institutions.
Her inspiration to give stems from her family drive to help others and the encouragement she received from the Bryan School and her scholarship grantors Norman J. and William F. Black.
“I found my own voice in the Bryan School. I had a platform to lead others, develop resilience, learn from my mistakes, and develop a great network of friends,” says Wiggins. “The faculty inspired us to stay optimistic about our future.”
Their encouragement planted a seed in Wiggins about giving back. “People fundamentally need a support system to include exposure, inspiration, financial assistance and career pathways. My hope is that my fellow alumni will reflect back on their own college experience and know that they are empowered to give back.”
Giving Back Starts With You!
Yes, you can create a scholarship or endowment just like Tia Wiggins! If you’d like to support the Bryan School, contact our Advancement Services Office at 336.334.5644 for guidance. Then, try some of these ways to fund your scholarship or endowment:
- Check if your employer matches giving
- Host a fundraiser
- Contact local businesses or professional organizations you belong to
- Reach out to your alumni friends
Note: Previous versions of this story erroneously referred to Tia’s scholarship donor as the late Bill Black, founder of Bill Black Cadillac Oldsmobile. Her scholarship was created by Norman J. and William F. Black. We apologize for this error, and thank Norman and William Black for their philanthropy.