The demand for public higher education has steadily risen over the last few years, but the tough funding climate has meant that universities like California State University, Northridge must increasingly rely on private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to continue to offer innovative educational programs.
The good news is, momentum across CSUN has been building. Recent figures show an increase in giving to the university among alumni and friends of the university alike:
• The number of undergraduate alumni donors increased by 58 percent over the last two years; from 2,600 in fiscal year 2011-12, to 3,100 in fiscal year 2012-13, to a record 4,100 in fiscal year 2013-14. The more alumni who give, the higher the university rises in national rankings, and the more notice major funding sources take when making decisions on how to allocate their resources.
• The total number of new gift commitments — donations from those who have never given money to CSUN before — rose dramatically over the past two years: from $11.4 million in fiscal year 2011-12, to $14.8 million in fiscal year 2012-13, to $21.1 million in fiscal year 2013-14.
This increase in giving will allow CSUN to improve and increase student financial support, technology and hands-on instruction for current and future students.
“I am so excited to see this growth in giving, as it helps further our mission and top priority of promoting the welfare and intellectual success of all our students,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “These increases are validation that our supporters see CSUN’s mission and values as worthy of investment. We cannot express our thanks enough to those who have given so generously to the university.”
Among the reasons for the increase, according to Rob Gunsalus, vice president of University Advancement and president of the CSUN Foundation, is that overall, the university is doing a better job of telling the stories of CSUN student and faculty success.
“The growing evidence of CSUN’s elevating impact is being noticed,” he said. “We were recently ranked the ninth Best Value in higher education by MONEY Magazine, A new study by Payscale and CollegeNET that looks at university’s track record of moving students and graduates up the social and economic ladder ranked CSUN fifth in the country, and our film school was recently ranked in the top 25 by The Hollywood Reporter.”
One of the most prominent examples, said Gunsalus, is noted entrepreneur and CSUN alumnus David Nazarian ’82 (Business), who launched a $25 million fundraising drive with a $10 million personal commitment toward the college that now bears his name, the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.
“Major philanthropists like David Nazarian, along with a growing number of alumni, view CSUN as a sound investment that has a significant social return,” added Earl Enzer ’83, chair of the CSUN Foundation board of directors and the managing director of Goldman Sachs of Los Angeles. “The CSUN Foundation and my fellow board members are committed to diligently stewarding these resources and raising more for the benefit of all CSUN students and programs. I encourage fellow alumni, friends and all who care about the future of Los Angeles to join in.”