RAYVETS scholarship inked to serve in perpetuity

A scholarship serving NMSU students, who, in turn, have served our country through the United States military, will now benefit former service members in perpetuity.

Almost two years ago, the NMSU Foundation announced the creation of the RAYVETS Degree Completion Current Use Scholarship that began with the help of Colby Richardson who has spent more than a decade in the Army, including seven years of active duty and three deployments to Iraq. Now, an officer in the Army Reserves, Richardson is also an employee of Raytheon Company in White Sands and founder of the company’s RAYVETS group.

“RAYVETS started giving to programs like Wounded Warriors, but we realized we couldn’t actually see the impact we were making with our donations,” Richardson said. “We wanted to make a local impact – to support people in Las Cruces – and our research led us to a need at NMSU.”

This need showed that almost 30 percent of NMSU’s veteran student body would run out of their GI Bill benefits before completing their degrees. So, in 2016, Richardson and the RAYVETS group hosted various fundraising events to start a scholarship, awarding honorably discharged service members in need who have a 3.0 grade point average or higher and are within one or two semesters of completing their degrees.

From hosting yard sales and bakes sales and making personal asks to family and friends, Richardson himself, at times, purchased prizes to raffle away and raise scholarship money.

“We did just about everything our imagination showed us that could raise us a couple more bucks for the scholarship,” Richardson said.

As you can imagine, fundraising year-after-year took a lot of time and energy. That’s when Richardson found out how scholarship endowments work through the NMSU Foundation.

“With an endowment, you don’t have to fundraise to keep pace with each scholarship that is awarded,” he said.

But, there was a catch – Richardson and the RAYVETS group had to raise $25,000, which is the minimum to start an endowed fund. This required amount is large enough that when invested in an earnings pool, it generates new growth every year to award scholarships, basically, forever.

The RAYVETS group took on the challenge and, in one year, raised the full $25,000 needed. Richardson said dozens of community members, as well as Raytheon Company, contributed significantly to help them meet the endowment goal.

“It feels absolutely amazing to know that local veterans within our community are being positively impacted by this endowed scholarship,” Richardson said. “The fact that this fund will live on as long as the university remains in existence makes all of us at Raytheon extremely proud to have contributed to such a worthwhile cause.”

To contribute to this scholarship or other veterans’ funds at NMSU, please visit the link below.

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