UND's Angel Fund, meant to help students through financial hardship, nearly depleted

Cara Halgren
Cara Halgren

A fund to help students through tough financial times is close to depletion.

The Angel Fund has helped more than 200 students over the past several months, with an average grant of about $689 per student, according to Cassie Gerhardt, associate vice president of student affairs and diversity and associate dean of students. Gerhardt said, in total, the fund has awarded more than $146,000 to students in need.

The Angel Fund is set up through the UND Alumni Association and Foundation and administered through the Office of Student Affairs. It provides limited financial support to students enrolled in the current semester at UND in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs who are making satisfactory progress in their respective academic programs.

Since Aug. 1, Gerhardt has had 110 requests for support from the Angel Fund, but that money is running low.

“As it stands now, the Angel funding sources will be completely depleted when awards are made to the current group of pending requests,” she said during the Women for Philanthropy event sponsored by the UND Alumni Association and Foundation. “We're getting close to using up the generosity of resources that our alumni and friends and others have shared.”


Gerhardt said, just within that hour, she had received a request from a student who had been exposed to COVID-19 and had to isolate, without the ability to work for two weeks. The student said the dollars from the Angel Fund would help pay rent next month, as well as for electricity and groceries.

“It's the impact of COVID and what it means for students who are just trying to achieve their academic goals .... a little bit of assistance that we're able to provide through the Angel Fund can make the difference between them staying in school and being successful or perhaps having to look at other opportunities,” Gerhardt said.

Cara Halgren, vice president for student affairs, said giving to the Angel Fund helps students in real time be able to stay in school at UND.

“We know that many of our students don't have other resources available to them,” she said.

This year’s Women for Philanthropy event featured a conversation with Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson-Zink, Kathy Gershman and Angie Freeman. The annual event was held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gershman is a retired professor emeritus at UND and cofounder of the Hal and Kathleen Gershman Family Foundation. Freeman is a UND alumna, UND board member and chief human resources officer at C.H. Robinson.

Cassie Gerhardt

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 701-780-1134.
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