Campaign for Colorado State sets $537.3 million record

Seal of Colorado State University (Trademark o...
Seal of Colorado State University (Trademark of CSU) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the midst of decreased state funding to higher education, CSU supporters stepped in and gave $111.6 million in a record-breaking fundraising year that went from June 2011 to June 2012.

“We basically doubled fundraising in two years,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for University Advancement. “This puts us up there with the big, nationally-known universities.”

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The record-breaking 2011-2012 year signals the culmination of the long-term fundraising drive, Campaign for Colorado State. The seven-year campaign saw 94,200 donors give a total of $537.3 million. Sixty-eight donors gave $1 million or more.

That $111.6 million, up 31 percent from the year before, is even more impressive, Anderson said, because the national average “is in the single digits.”

The estimated increase for charitable giving to colleges and universities increased 4.9 percent during the 2011-2012 academic year, according to data from the Washington-based Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

“Our students should be very proud of that. The reason we’re able to fundraise is our students,” Anderson said. “Every time I bring them to fundraisers they just ‘wow’ the donors.”

CSU is not alone in massive fundraising efforts.

As reported in the Collegian on Aug. 1, the University of Colorado System –– which includes CU-Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus –– announced $228.6 million in record-breaking private donations for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

And the increase in private donations also extends to many institutions outside of Colorado.

Kansas State University hauled in $121 million in their fiscal year ending June 2012, a 13 percent increase from the prior year. Iowa State University collected $867 million during a nine-year campaign that ended in June.

“Donors are more confident in the recovery of the economy, which in turn is leading to more confidence in their capacity to give,” said Pam Russell, director of communications for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

CSU Spokesman Kyle Henley said private support is crucial to fund student scholarships and faculty development.

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“This is going directly into scholarships, making a difference for students here and now,” he said.

The campaign led to the creation of 16 new endowed chairs and professorships, almost 16,000 scholarships awarded and $63 million raised for new scholarships.

Anderson said private fundraising helps to offset decreases in state funding. To make up for those losses, CSU is also creating new revenue streams in the form of private partnerships –– like with Coca-Cola and Hewlett Packard –– and the INTO program, which works to bring nonresident students to CSU.

“We’re building a durable and sustainable model,” Anderson said.

Russell cautions against any university becoming to financially dependent on donations and fundraising, and believes that looking at multiple sources of funding is key for a solid financial foundation.

“Private fundraising only accounts for 10 percent of an institution’s budget… and most major gifts are restricted,” Russell said. “Institutions don’t have as much flexibility as with state funding as donors don’t often give money to take care of such things as keeping the lights on or fixing the cracks of sidewalks. So they need to make sure they have multiple sources of funding.”