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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University
Make a Difference Giving To Michigan State University

Your philanthropy at work: Julie Avery

She credits her parents with both the ability and the desire to give back to something personally significant.

Julie Avery

Julie Avery demonstrates her commitment to the mission and work of the MSU Museum not only through her professional efforts but also as a devoted and long term donor, with a special commitment to history.

Her generosity to the museum predates her employment there. She first connected with the museum through doctoral work and volunteer efforts in restoring carousel horses. Today, she is director of education and curator of rural life and culture with support from MSU Extension for cultural community and economic development.

She credits her parents, Jessie and Charles Kimes, with both the ability and the desire to give back to something personally significant. “My parents thought it was very important for my sister and me to get more education than they had,” she explains. That laid the foundation for her parents to designate money received from an unexpected inheritance to help their daughters. Julie was able to take time off from work to complete her dissertation.

Many years later she and husband Stephen Stier (who also holds a research appointment at the MSU Museum), established the Avery, Kimes and Stier History Endowment in support history initiatives at the museum. Julie sees first-hand how the endowment makes a difference in many ways from supporting research and exhibit development, to stipends for museum studies students to learn-through-experience in the museum. She believes the special way museums like MSU’s can share research and heritage, and connect with audiences on campus and beyond.

“It is empowering to be able to make a difference,” Julie notes. “A small monthly gift over time can make a huge difference to an area with limited financial flexibility. It was very meaningful to me to establish the endowment and to grow it for a part of the museum that is so vital and deserving.”

Julie’s passion for history and community also extends to her home life. She and her husband are currently restoring an 1860s farmstead.