MacDonald Gift Seeds Community Fellows Program

Real estate entrepreneur and business author, Scott MacDonald, of Del Mar, California, has made a gift to the University of Michigan’s Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning in the Division of Student Life. This gift establishes the MacDonald Community Fellows Program in support of students committed to community service.

Laying the foundation for the leaders of tomorrow, the MacDonald Community Fellows Program will annually provide need-based scholarships to a cohort of students. The Program was established to encourage and support students who intend to be agents of positive change in the world, helping themselves and the communities they engage with to reach their full potential.

MacDonald’s generous gift will be supplemented by the U-M’s Third Century Matching Initiative to support students as part of the Victors for Michigan Campaign, for a total contribution of $225,000.

MacDonald Community Fellows will be selected and mentored by faculty and staff at the Ginsberg Center and are required to complete an annual minimum of 260 hours of work with the Ginsberg Center and community partners, among other duties. Along with the scholarship, Fellows will receive training and guidance while serving the public good.

“The University of Michigan has a long tradition of service to the public good, and Mr. MacDonald’s generosity gives us an exciting new way for that work to continue,” said Dr. E. Royster Harper, Vice president for Student Life.

The Ginsberg Center has cultivated a national reputation for preeminence in community engagement. Created in memory of Edward Ginsberg, U-M alum, former lawyer and devoted community servant, the Ginsberg Center engages students in community service and encourages them to give back. Last year, nearly 4,000 students participated in programs designed to catalyze positive social change, such as literacy initiatives and global health projects. On behalf of the Ginsberg family, Bob Ginsberg commented, “This generous seminal gift will enable students to engage in community service in ways that reflect and further Edward Ginsberg's own commitment to giving back to society so that others have the opportunity to achieve and flourish.”

“We’re so grateful to Mr. MacDonald for investing in our students and the greater good through the design and launch of this fellows program,” said Mary Jo Callan, director of the Ginsberg Center. “His vision is that this initial investment will inspire others to match his gift to establish additional named fellows, expanding positive benefits for students with financial need and the communities in which they serve. We look forward to continuing to work with him and others who want to join us in developing students while also developing the community.”

Scott MacDonald is the former chairman and CEO of Investa Property Group, a commercial property company in Australia.  Mr. MacDonald is the author of Saving Investa – How an ex-factory worker helped save one of Australia’s iconic companies.

MacDonald has established similar student support programs at other institutions, including Davidson College in North Carolina and his alma maters, Indiana University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. His friend and colleague, Michael Flood, a former president of the University of Michigan San Diego Alumni Club, encouraged MacDonald to set up a program for students dedicated to civic engagement, inspiring this gift to the U-M.

Mr. MacDonald commented, “The MacDonald Scholars program ( provides potential donors a legacy of students doing good work in their name in perpetuity.  It provides need based students with critical funding and support as they help others in need.  I am thrilled the University of Michigan and the Ginsberg Center have adopted such a program and that they are committed to expand the program to help more students and more people in need.”

This gift counts toward the university’s ongoing $4 billion Victors for Michigan Campaign, which includes a goal of raising $1 billion for student support. For more information about the campaign, visit the Leaders and Best website.