Sacramento State raised $15 million from more than 6,700 donors during the 2014-15 school year, the most the university has received since the recession hampered fundraising.
The resurgence in donations is a sign that people are feeling more confident about the economy and are ready to donate money to causes that are important to them, said Laurie Hall, director of advancement communications and stewardship at the university. “Voters and donors are placing a higher value on higher education,” she said.
The last time CSUS received that much was in the 2008-09 school year when it collected $17.1 million.
Most of the money raised last school year – 78 percent – will fund campus improvements and programs, with 6 percent, about $1.6 million, going toward scholarships and 16 percent going to endowments.
Specifically, the donations funded the latest equipment and technology in science, engineering and health care laboratories, Hall said. The money also helped pay for specialized equipment such as miniature treadmills in physical therapy classes to help children with neuro-motor impairment walk.
Sacramento State is also using the money on programs that help students progress through school, including mentoring and scholarships, Hall said.
Fifty-eight percent of the donations to Sacramento State last school year came from non-alumni, while alumni gave 18 percent, corporations 12 percent, foundations 10 percent and others 2 percent.
Alumni and sponsors donated a record $450,000 at their annual Green and Gold Gala in March. The funds were used to establish the new Green and Gold Scholarship, which benefits scholars who have overcome major personal and financial hardships to obtain their degrees.
Among the private donations was $1 million from the estate of longtime donor Hazel Cramer, who died in December 2014. It will be used to establish the university’s first endowed chair, which will be in the department of public policy and administration. Cramer donated more than $3.5 million to the university through her estate and about $800,000 in scholarships during her life.
Leslie and Anita Harper donated $375,000 in cash, securities and real estate and have made a bequest of $8.1 million from their estate, according to information from the California State University system. Sacramento State has since renamed its alumni center the Leslie and Anita Harper Alumni Center. Leslie Harper, a retired real estate developer, graduated in 1955 with the first class on the current Sacramento State campus.
The University Foundation at Sacramento State provided $970,000 to support campus scholarships and programs. The value of the endowment is now $40 million, according to university information.
This is the fifth year in a row that the school has surpassed its fundraising goal, said Tracy Latino-Newman, associate vice president of university development. For 2014-15, the goal was $12.6 million. In 2013-14, the university set a goal of $11.7 million and raised $14.2 million. In 2012-13, the school met its goal of $10.2 million, according to information from the university.