The Last Word: Goldberg and Swedish make the case for alumni giving

October 15, 2019

The Ford School recently announced a new way for alumni and others to give back: the Ford School Fund for Student Support. As we aim for more alumni donors over the next year—with gifts of any size—State & Hill caught up with Naomi Goldberg (MPP ’08) and Ian Swedish (MPP/MBA ’10), co-chairs of the alumni board’s fundraising committee.

State & Hill: Tell us about your experience at the Ford School. Did you receive support?

IS: My experience at the Ford School was pivotal for a lot of reasons. First, I met my wife at Michigan! But what I reflect on a lot is how the faculty, staff and fellow students opened my eyes to the unlimited possibilities and impact my career could have. And I did receive financial support. It helped keep my attention on my studies and not finances.

NG: The Ford School kicked my career to a whole different level. I was working full time while in school, and getting financial support allowed me to work a little less and help pay for living expenses.

You’re on the Alumni Board. How else are you involved?

NG: I live in Ann Arbor so I get to attend events and meet with students in person. Last year I judged the student internship pitch competition. I also take seriously helping to recruit the next class and love connecting with admitted students through phone calls.

IS: I have enjoyed being a resource to students through resume reviews, mock interviews and informational interviews. I find it a rewarding way to stay connected.

And you’re donors! Why does alumni giving matter?

IS: Yes, and we’re donors! Our school is stronger when our alumni are engaged and giving. Everybody from faculty and students to fellow alumni benefit from a vibrant community.

NG: Agreed! And alumni giving sends a strong message to students and prospective students: that we’re committed to the school and that we value the education we received. That demonstrated evidence of commitment helps us recruit and enroll the students that we see as future leaders.

Why is now the right time to give?

IS: This is an exciting moment at the Ford School with so much success, growth and visibility. Giving is an opportunity to be part of and invest in that future. Whether its $5 or $500, contributions specifically support current students and recruit new ones.

Advice for current students?

NG: Don’t forget to enjoy your time in Ann Arbor! The friends you make over Econ problem sets and the connections you build talking about Michigan football or bonding over the cold winters—those relationships will last.

Ian Swedish is the vice president of analytics and client strategy for CCS Fundraising.

Naomi Goldberg is the director of policy and research at the Movement Advancement Project.

Please help us reach 500 Alumni donors to unlock a $50,000 matching gift!

From now until Spirit Day on July 9, 2020, every gift from Ford School alumni (to any fund) counts toward a challenge to unlock even more support for our students.

If 250 alumni give, you help unlock $25,000 to directly support Ford School students—500 alumni donors unlocks an additional $25,000—totaling $50,000 in student support. The Ford School Fund supports all of our students and helps us ease the financial costs of a top-notch Ford School education.

To give to the Ford School Fund for Student Support visit

Support our students

Below is a printed version of this edition of State & Hill, the magazine of the Ford School. View previous editions.