We are a solid month into the new year and looking ahead to what that means for the UMSA Foundation. As an organization that is just two years old, we continue to focus on telling our story, how we came to be and what we are setting out to accomplish.
The UMSA Foundation is a non-profit that was created out of the desire by the Upper Midwest Security Alliance (UMSA) to form a separate organization focused on giving back to the information security community. Giving back was meant to be philanthropic in nature, with the goal of increasing the number of security professionals in the Midwest, as well as ensuring students looking to move into the profession had the financial support to prepare themselves for this profession.
The UMSA Foundation, established 2018, has since given out 40 scholarships and 1 grant request. Our scholarship program was developed to support undergraduate or graduate students as well as professionals in continuing education programs studying in the areas of cybersecurity, governance, risk and compliance, business continuity, and physical security. Currently, the focus is on applicants who reside in the upper Midwest (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin). Upon selection, scholarship winners also are invited to attend Secure360 for free to give them a 2-day focused information security deep dive into topics and details generally not covered in college courses. It is a way for them to connect with those working in the industry and make connections prior to graduating.
As we finish up our second year and third round of scholarships, the Foundation also focused on ensuring its long-term financial viability through securing inbound donations and grant dollars. The Foundation is also working to secure long-term partnerships with organizations that also want to invest into the future of this profession, with the goal of increasing our scholarships, producing job-specific scholarships (e.g. pen testing, forensics, red/blue/purple team professionals, etc.) and more.
We ask everyone in this tight-knit information security community to consider making an annual tax-deductible donation of $25 or more to the UMSA Foundation to support its mission/vision and viability for this community. Making a donation is easy to do online and allows us to continue to fulfill our mission of supporting and promoting research, education and programs for those interested in and pursing security, continuity and risk-related professions.
We thank you for your support of the Foundation and this community.