Record support propels CSU annual fundraising to nearly $200M

More donors, greater alumni support contribute to record-breaking total

Colorado State University continues to redefine expectations and push boundaries when it comes to annual fundraising, once again shattering the previous record for any single campus in Colorado.

Brett Anderson, vice president for University Advancement, today announced that CSU had raised $197.8 million in annual fundraising. The 2015-16 total easily surpassed the previous record of $172.3 million, and set records for both academic ($166 million), and athletics ($31.8 million) fundraising.

The $197.8 million raised is part of the $1 billion “State Your Purpose” fundraising campaign which officially launched in February, four years after the completion of the university’s first comprehensive campaign. The campaign’s goal is to invest in CSU’s never-ending pursuit of across-the-board excellence.

“Our donors have stepped up in unprecedented ways to support our $1 billion ‘State Your Purpose’ campaign – and we are proud and grateful to be celebrating another record-breaking fundraising year,” Colorado State President Tony Frank said. “We deeply appreciate all those who are choosing to invest in our faculty, our academic programs, research, outreach, athletics, and most of all, our students. This generous show of support from our donors and alumni is a great statement about the enduring importance of the excellent, accessible public higher education offered at Colorado State, and we are truly grateful.”

Changing the game

CSU is raising four times as much in private support as 10 years ago, and now nearly doubles the amount of support it receives from the state.

“CSU is focused on excellence in everything we do,” Anderson said. “We have built tremendous momentum in recent years, and people like to support a winner. Our donors support us because they have seen what we are able to accomplish in the lives of our students and around the world through our research and outreach programs.

“CSU has become a world-class university and we continue to strive for even greater heights.  Private support allows us to continue to elevate all the things that we do and our five consecutive years of record support have significantly contributed to our success.”

Alumni participation surging

In addition to the record dollar totals, CSU continues to buck national trends with significant increases in both alumni participation and total donors. Nearly 39,000 alumni, friends and other supporters donated – an increase of more than 4,000 donors from the previous year – while alumni giving rose to 10.7 percent, up from 10.4 percent.

Fundraising_graphicCSU received 29 gifts of $1 million or more, including two anonymous $20 million gifts – one to name the field at the on-campus stadium in Sonny Lubick’s honor, and one to CSU’s Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies – and another $13 million for scholarships and infrastructure from alumnus Michael Smith.

Every gift matters

While large gifts were a vitally important component of the record total, smaller gifts also had a significant impact. CSU received more than 24,000 gifts of $100 or less and 10,000 gifts between $100 and $500, representing significant grassroots, broad-based support.

Anderson pointed to the success of CSU’s second Day of Giving in April as an example of the impact of smaller gifts. More than 1,900 alumni, friends and other supporters in 43 states contributed $127,245 in just one 24-hour period.

“I can’t thank our supporters enough. They know that every gift, regardless of size, helps make CSU better,” Anderson said. “We are grateful for every donor and every gift.”

Elite company

Thanks to committed and generous donors, CSU has positioned itself among the nation’s fundraising elite, surpassing officially designated peer institutions including Purdue, Michigan State, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Tennessee, North Carolina State, Washington State, Iowa State, Oregon State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma State (based on reported 2014-15 totals).

While CSU’s $1 billion campaign goal is twice what was sought in its initial campaign completed in 2012, Anderson called it purposefully ambitious, putting CSU in the company of elite colleges and universities which are successfully engaging donors in transformative ways.

CSU_StateYourPurposeSolid_RGB_357CSU already has raised more than $625 million of its $1 billion campaign goal, and is well on its way to hit the milestone by 2020 to celebrate the university’s 150th birthday.

Record year for athletics

CSU’s Department of Athletics set a record with $31.8 million raised, which includes $21.8 million for the new on-campus stadium, set to open in 2017. That total includes more than 2,000 stadium bricks – nearly 1,600 of which were purchased by first-time donors to Athletics. To-date CSU has raised $46.4 million for the stadium.

“We are grateful for those who have supported our students who participate in athletics in the past year by donating to help fund scholarships and support their overall experience,” said Joe Parker, CSU’s director of athletics. “Those supporters continue to demonstrate their strong belief in our athletics programs and in this university during a very exciting time in our institution’s history.”


CSU 2015-16 fundraising highlights:

  • Best-ever fundraising year for academics – $166 million
    • Most funds ever raised by the College of Business, College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Natural Sciences
    • 5 colleges raised more than $10 million (College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Business, College of Health & Human Sciences, Warner College of Natural Resources, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences)
    • Most ever raised by the CSU Alumni Association – $4.8 million
  • Best-ever fundraising year for athletics – $31.8 million
  • 29 gifts of $1 million or more
  • An increase of more than 4,000 donors and an all-time high alumni participation rate of 10.7 percent