Record year for ASU fundraising, helping students with research, scholarships
July 26, 2016

2016 the best year for university fundraising

Individuals, corporate and foundation partners donated more than $215 million in fiscal year 2016 to support Arizona State University’s educational programs, research and services that enhance student success and community engagement.

The amount reflects the best-ever year in the history of the university. It is the second consecutive year that the ASU Foundation — the highly-rated, separate, nonprofit organization that raises and invests private support on behalf of ASU — generated more than $200 million in new gifts and commitments. These contributions do not replace core funding from state appropriations and tuition, but rather augment and enrich the ASU experience.

This year more than 100,000 donors, including 23,000 alumni, made contributions ranging from a few dollars to a few million.

The unprecedented level of giving indicates broad understanding of the impact of ASU and shows determination by donors to provide crucial private support at a time when ASU is accelerating the creation of new pathways to education and research excellence.

“This new fundraising mark continues to validate our investors’ commitments to this university, its charter and the vision ASU President Michael M. Crow has set forth,” said Gretchen Buhlig, chief operating officer and managing director of the ASU Foundation. “I am excited by the momentum this milestone sets for future fundraising efforts.”

“Private support affects nearly every aspect of the ASU experience – from scholarships and named professorships to art supplies, museum exhibits, alumni events and athletic facilities,” said Crow. “This year’s support reflects donors’ tremendous relationships with so many aspects of this great university.”

More than 8,400 ASU students received $42 million in scholarships from benefactors in the last school year, supplementing an array of financial aid resources that help defray the cost of attendance for some of those enrolled.

Investments from extraordinary friends of the university are transforming ASU, including those by Jeanne and Gary K. Herberger for the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, by Cindy and Mike Watts to name the Watts Center for Academic Excellence and Championship Life with Sun Devil Athletics and by David Lincoln for the W.P. Carey School of Business, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Longtime supporters and first-time donors alike participated in Sun Devil Giving Day, an annual, university-wide event that culminated in over $4 million raised from 2,548 individuals in just 24 hours – an increase of 185% in assets and more than 50% in donors from the previous year. For the first time, Sun Devil Giving Day partnered with Snapchat and Uber to form non-traditional channels for users to sustain their favorite areas of ASU.


The ASU Foundation provides support to ensure student success.

Sarah Stansbury started backing ASU before her graduation from the university this spring. “Giving back to the English Department – a community that has supported me through my college career in so many ways – simply feels like the right thing to do,” she said.

The impact of private support is not only felt within ASU’s departments, but across the world – and beyond.

Of the thousands of projects donors sponsored in fiscal year 2016, they:

  • Helped ASU researchers install solar panels at primary schools in Palestine;
  • Provided a travel stipend for an undergraduate improving maternal health and childbirth practices in Sweden; and
  • Created engineering training for professors in Vietnam through a program President Barack Obama highlighted during a recent visit to Southeast Asia.

In another example, Regents’ Professor and Ed and Helen Korrick Professor of Geological Sciences Phil Christensen, who is building an instrument to be used on an upcoming National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission, used private funding to introduce freshmen to space exploration.

Regardless of their area of greatest passion, ASU benefactors contribute to a culture of philanthropy that is generating new opportunities at the nation’s most innovative university.

“President Crow’s vision for Arizona State University remains bold, compelling and transformational,” said Rick Shangraw, chief executive officer of the ASU Foundation and its parent organization, Enterprise Partners. “ASU’s investors help deliver the resources necessary to achieve that vision. We are grateful for all they do.”

To read more stories about the impact of private support at ASU, please visit http://www.asufoundation.org/impact. Above photo: Sun Devil Giving Day 2016. Courtesy ASU Foundation.