Annexstad Family Foundation Continues Legacy of Giving

For the Annexstad Family Foundation, education and generosity go together.

Since 2011, 21 students have earned their degrees from The University of Alabama with the help of the Annexstad Family Foundation. These scholars have been funded through the Foundation’s Leaders for Tomorrow National Scholarship Program (LFT), which allows recipients — most of whom are first-generation college students — to complete their academic careers fully-funded and graduate with little or no debt.

The roots of such generosity were sown by Al and Cathy Annexstad, who founded the Annexstad Family Foundation in 2000 with a mission to support students who have overcome extraordinary challenges in their lives.

Having both lost a parent at an early age, both Al and Cathy recognized the importance of community support to pursue their dreams. The couple met as teenagers growing up in South-Central Minnesota, and immediately formed a bond. Al attended college and worked full-time to fund his education, and the pair soon married and began their family.

Group photo of Annexstad scholars.

Throughout the couple’s successes, both professionally and personally, the memory of two people continued to have a profound impact on Al and Cathy: Al’s mother, Alice, who served meals to college students at Gustavus Adolphus College for more than 45 years, and Cathy’s mother, Marie Eustice, who taught primary school.

Al Annexstad shared, “The Annexstad Family Foundation is committed to contributing to the ripple effect of a student not only getting to college, but through college and earning their bachelor’s degree. It is our Foundation’s goal that a scholar’s education allows them to actualize their potential as well as positively impact the lives of their families and communities.”

Working through a partnership between UA’s Capstone Center for Student Success, the Office of First-Generation Programs and the Honors College, the LFT Program not only empowers students financially, but also allows them to build a holistic foundation for their time at the Capstone.

“Students participate in a first-year seminar to help create a strong community early on in their college experience,” Patti Annexstad, chief financial officer and executive director of the foundation said. “The Honors College seminar is a two-credit course where students learn self-management and life skills such as inclusive leadership, collaboration, and critical thinking.”

For the 2021–2022 academic year, the LFT scholarship recipients had a first year 100% retention rate.

“With their total cost of attendance met, students can focus on coursework, student clubs and activities, studying abroad and professional development opportunities,” Patti said. “Students can engage fully in the undergraduate experience to best prepare them for life beyond their time at UA.”

Vice president and director of development for the foundation, Tom Annexstad shared, “We are fortunate to visit Tuscaloosa to meet with the Annexstad scholar cohort. These connections help foster community and allow our staff and board of directors to better meet the needs of current and future Annexstad scholars.”

“We have been able to see each scholar’s confidence grow from their first year to their fourth as they pursue their passions and interests on campus,” Patti said. “Scholars know they have trusted individuals on- and off-campus who are committed to their success and helping them realize their own potential as they matriculate through their degree and beyond.

For more information on partnering with UA, please contact Deidra Diaz, director of corporate and foundation relations at the University.