Donations to CSU system sky-rocket

by Kevin Smead

Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor
Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, donations to the California State University system increased by a total of 30 percent. Last year, the CSU system received approximately $344 million in donations from donors and alumni. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year the CSU system received $265 million, nearly one-third less.

The source of these funds spans a wide range of philanthropic groups and families that make donations to show support for the CSU.

For example, the new Green Music Center at Sonoma State University was paid for by philanthropists Joan and Sanford I. Weill. The donated $12 million in cash is the largest cash donation in CSU history.

San Francisco State University received a $5 million donation from alumna and professor Emerita Kay Takeyama Dilena to establish the Dilena Takeyama Center for the Study of Japan and Japanese Culture.

At California State Polytechnic University Pomona, a grant of $42 million was received from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Kellogg, most famous for his breakfast cereal innovations, reportedly had a history of investing in people, which the foundation claims translated into its philanthropic donations. Some of the money will go toward establishing scholarships and also toward building the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.

In individual donations, the most prevalent category of givers was alumni, who gave roughly around $60 million.

In a statement responding to these and other gifts, CSU Vice Chancellor of University Relations and Advancement Garret P. Ashley said, “Generous supporters are helping the university excel in countless areas including teaching, research, athletics and arts. However, these gifts cannot fully replace what the state has cut.”

This is attributed to the fact that many of these gifts are designated for specific purposes. Though the philanthropic report is broken into some larger blanket categories such as academic enrichment and facilities, there are even smaller subcategories that allocate donations to certain programs, as opposed to solely the general budget.

Only about $5.9 million of the total donations are considered “unrestricted.”

San Diego State received $39,925 in unrestricted funds. However, SDSU did not receive funds for campus improvement. Still, from all CSU schools, SDSU received the most overall funds with a total of $59,147,550.

In his opening letter at the start of the annual report, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed extols the virtues of giving to the CSU, stating it is “an investment that will pay dividends.”