ASU Foundation sets fundraising record for fourth consecutive year

By

Anna Franko

For the fourth year in a row, the ASU Foundation has announced the completion of a record year in fundraising for academic programs, research and initiatives at the university.

At the close of the 2018 fiscal year, numbers show donors throughout Arizona and the world contributed over $253 million for ASU to advance access and excellence. The previous record of $222 million was set in fiscal year 2017. 

“There is an outstanding future for our university, with rising numbers of graduates, levels of research, and economic impact,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “Our philanthropic supporters and partners play an integral role in our success, helping us advance our pursuits to make a lasting impact on the students and communities we serve.”

More than 105,000 individual, corporate and foundation supporters gave to ASU this year.

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“Without our donors, the ASU Foundation's success would not be possible,” said ASU Foundation CEO Gretchen Buhlig. "Each and every gift helps change the lives of students in extraordinary ways.  Our supporters give students the opportunity to succeed, and we are grateful to witness that every day."  

Campaign ASU 2020, a comprehensive effort to permanently raise the long-term fundraising capacity of the university, has raised nearly half a billion dollars for student access, excellence and success, ensuring that every qualified student can come to ASU — and thrive.

Frank Smith, who graduated in May, never thought college was an option. Throughout his youth, he lived in 27 different foster homes. Despite instability at home, Smith was determined to get a college degree and entered ASU as an Armstrong Scholar, an Obama Scholar, a Spirit of Service Scholar and a Nina Mason Pulliam Scholar. He was elected the youngest student body president ever at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.

“I always knew the numbers were against me, but I also knew it could be different. I definitely don’t think I would be here without the teachers and mentors who believed in me, and I’m grateful,” he said. “I want to be a role model for foster children and show them they can hope for something better and achieve it.”

Smith is one of nearly 10,000 students each year who receive scholarships through private support.

Private support also funded a wide range of impactful gifts this year, including a new research fund for the Department of Psychology; support for blockchain curriculum in engineering, business, and law; and funding for students to design, build and fly space vehicles.

One gift made headlines in the sustainability world: Kelly and Brian Swette, founders of Sweet Earth Natural Foods, made a major gift to establish the Kelly and Brian Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University, and to create the Swette Family Scholarship Program, to provide financial support to students from agricultural farm-working and food-working families.

“Private support is critical to the success of ASU, and we are grateful to the community of supporters whose contributions are advancing the New American University,” said R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., chief executive officer of ASU Enterprise Partners, the parent organization to the ASU Foundation. “Their support of students, faculty, research, and bold ideas help ensure a very bright future.”

The ASU Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the mission of ASU as the New American University. For the seventh year in a row, it has received the highest ranking for efficiency and transparency from Charity Navigator, the largest independent nonprofit evaluator.

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