Matching gift offers opportunities to change lives at FPU

Al and Dotty Warkentine initiate challenge gift for FPU

Thanks to the generosity of Al & Dotty Warkentine, every contribution until June 30th has double the impact, potentially raising $3M.

A $1.5 million matching gift—and the possibility of raising $3 million—is energizing Fresno Pacific University.

University community members are coming together now through June 30 to participate in this challenge from Al and Dotty Warkentine. This matching gift, announced April 29, is only the latest example of the couple’s longtime support for the university, including the major donation for the Warkentine Culture and Arts Center.

Any gift—excluding capital and endowment donations—qualifies for the match.

A retired dentist and avid investor, Al Warkentine was a member of the school’s first board of trustees, from 1971-85. Dotty is a retired professional harpist who has taught students and played in many FPU ensembles as part of her career.

The Warkentines call FPU their mission field. “People’s lives are changed,” Al says.

The sense of community at FPU is crucial.

“I talked to one faculty member recently that said the wonderful thing about teaching at Fresno Pacific is the family feeling they had with the faculty and staff. That’s important,” he adds.

Because donations are doubled dollar for dollar up to $3 million, matching gifts can raise money beyond the match amount.

“It’s to try to shake people loose,” Al says. “One thing we’ve always said was the first time we gave $10,000 it was hard to do, the first time we gave $100,000 it was difficult…but the more you do that the easier it gets.”

Gifts to the matching fund, no matter how small, go far toward changing the lives of the nearly 3,000 FPU students earning their bachelor’s master’s and seminary degrees at campuses in Fresno, Visalia, Merced and Bakersfield as well as online.

“It is a pleasure to witness firsthand donors’ unwavering dedication to FPU,” says André Stephens, university president. “Their commitment enables us to cultivate an environment where students can flourish and grow in their academic pursuits and faith journeys.”

At Fresno Pacific, education is a missional as well as financial investment, Stephens says. “That investment is embodied in the faculty, staff and students who strive to empower each student to recognize their infinite worth and potential. All contributions directly contribute to this transformative and sacred work.”

The energy around the giving opportunity is palpable, says Liz Garvin, vice president for advancement and executive director of the FPU Foundation. “We are so grateful for Al and Dotty’s generosity,” she says.

“They truly believe in FPU’s mission and want to share that mission with others,” Garvin says. “With their pledge to match dollar for dollar up to $1.5 million, we are one step closer to changing students’ lives.”

Interested individuals can contribute online at


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