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KU Endowment's 5,000th online gift honors the late Jay Turnbull

With a click of a mouse, online giving to the University of Kansas reached a milestone: 5,000 gifts. KU Endowment will match the gift to commemorate reaching this record.

The 5,000th gift — made at kuendowment.org — was a $250 donation to the Jay Turnbull Fellowship at the Beach Center on Disability from Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies, and his wife, Eva Horn, professor of special education. Their gift was in memory of Jay Turnbull, who died of natural causes Jan. 7.

The Jay Turnbull Fellowship was established in 2008 by Jay Turnbull’s parents, Rud and Ann Turnbull, to honor their son. He was diagnosed as a child with intellectual disabilities and autism. He achieved considerable independence, and from the age of 22, lived on his own with support from family and friends. He worked at KU for 20 years, most recently as an office and clerical assistant at the Beach Center. The Turnbulls, both distinguished professors at KU, founded the center.

Warren formerly directed the Life Span Institute, where the Beach Center is located. He knew Jay Turnbull for more than 25 years.

“With the extraordinary support of his family, Jay became a pioneer of sorts and in many ways a symbol of ‘what is possible’ for individuals with severe cognitive disabilities,” Warren said. “His success, despite great challenges, was, is, and will continue to be inspirational to people like him and their loved ones throughout the world. That is a pretty impressive legacy, if you ask me.”

Donors have been giving gifts to KU online since 2001. The first online gift, made in January that year, was $50 for the School of Law. Since then, gifts have been made to hundreds of departments and programs throughout the university. In the 2008 fiscal year, more than $400,000 was donated to KU online. The average online gift is $258.

December 2008 saw the largest number of donations on record. The record for a month other than December was set in April 2008, when 193 online donors gave a total of $27,233 to a fund established to celebrate the national NCAA men’s basketball championship.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit foundation serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Rosita McCoy

Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing 785-832-7336

Michelle Tevis

Senior Editor, Media Relations 785-832-7363