The Youngest Donor

At only 25, Kramer Endres ’17 wanted to ensure access for UW students with disabilities.

Kramer Endres smiles on Bascom Hill wearing graduation cap and gown

“Creating a scholarship to benefit college students with disabilities can go a long way in helping them graduate and move toward more independence.” Courtesy of Kramer Endres

At 25 years old, Kramer Endres ’17 became the youngest donor to pledge an estate gift to the UW Foundation. Now 26 and generous beyond his years, Endres forged a connection with the UW even before he became a Badger. He grew up on Lake Wisconsin and was diagnosed early in life with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, undergoing many surgeries and procedures at the UW Hospital and Clinics. Despite his physical challenges, Endres was not deterred from his long-term goals.

A childhood love of math and science led him to pursue a degree in actuarial science at the Wisconsin School of Business. Maneuvering through college can be challenging on its own, but when one’s main source of mobility is a power wheelchair, campus resources become even more vital. Endres remains deeply grateful for all the opportunities he had as a UW student, including getting involved with student organizations like Advocates for Diverse Abilities, going to Adapted Fitness classes, and seeking accommodations from the McBurney Disability Resource Center. Those experiences led him to commit to a $25,000 bequest, one that he hopes will grow much larger with time, in support of the McBurney Center.

“I was fortunate to receive several scholarships and grants,” Endres says. “They were instrumental in helping me through school. At the heart of many of these scholarships was the McBurney Center.”

The center opened in 1977 with a focused mission to “lead the campus forward in access for students with disabilities.” It was a transformative resource for Endres during his time at the UW, simplifying his transition from high school and setting him up for success.

To this day, Endres appreciates the sense of community that he experienced while at the university and the many opportunities to learn, to collaborate with his peers, and to evolve as an individual. Since graduation, he has enjoyed success working as an actuarial analyst with Rural Mutual Insurance Company. During that time, he began to consider the legacy he wanted to leave.

“It’s important to me and my family to have a strong financial core, and a big part of that is giving back,” says Endres. “Creating a scholarship to benefit college students with disabilities can go a long way in helping them graduate and move toward more independence, while also having a great journey at the UW. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have been given over the years and want to see other people with disabilities go out and enjoy the many things life has to offer.”

Published in the Winter 2021 issue

Tags: Alumni, disability advocacy, philanthropy

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