First Gift From Generous Endowment

Large check for $1500 surrounded by UA students, friends and Matthews ElementaryIn the spring of 2019, generous University of Alabama donors Mike and Cathy Buhai endowed a fund to be used by the homecoming queen to give to an on-campus charitable organization. The previous fall, their daughter Katie had been selected as UA’s homecoming queen. Katie was also the vice president for community service for Kappa Delta, and the Buhais wanted to allow future homecoming queens the opportunity to support a philanthropy project of their choice. This year, McLean Moore was the first homecoming queen who had the opportunity to use the fund, and she selected Al’s Pals to receive the donation!

Al’s Pals is a UA mentorship program managed through the Center for Service and Leadership. Al’s Pals partners with local schools around Tuscaloosa and creates a space for undergraduate students at the Capstone to mentor elementary students. The gift will help with things like background checks for UA students – a necessary safety requirement that has also been a financial barrier in the past. It may also be used for enrichment opportunities, field trips, etc.

Dr. Kim Lavender, the principal at Matthews Elementary School, said, “Al’s Pals has played an important role in helping our students be successful. One-on-one mentors build positive relationships with our students, which helps our students feel more confident in completing assignments and participating in activities. It truly takes a village and Al’s Pals is a part of our village.”

This week, a $1,500 check was presented by McLean, along with the Buhais, to Al’s Pals at Matthews Elementary. Partners in the Division of Student Life, including our interim Vice President for Student Life, came to Matthews to show their support for Al’s Pals.

“Al’s Pals is a great opportunity for our students not only to give back and support a younger generation, but it also allows them to experientially build their leadership, mentorship and community engagement skills during their time at the Capstone,” said Dr. Hood, interim Vice President of Student Life.