Funds raised in Campaign ASU 2020 to fuel discovery, champion student success and enrich community, among other initiatives
Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.
Developing an Ebola treatment. Caring for a city’s homeless population. Opening pathways to higher education through scholarships.
Such accomplishments take intelligence, compassion — and generosity. To make possible more such life-changing actions, Arizona State University is embarking on a comprehensive campaign to raise at least $1.5 billion to accelerate its mission.
Campaign ASU 2020 is a strategic effort that will focus the entire university’s development energies on one goal — to permanently raise the long-term fundraising capacity of the university. The donations will fund scholarships, faculty research, labs, projects to ensure that students succeed to graduation, arts initiatives and ventures in the community.
ASU President Michael M. Crow said the campaign comes at a pivotal time when the university is reflecting on its successes and building on that momentum.
“Campaign ASU 2020 is our moment in time to say, ‘Yes, we’ve been able to do that. Look at who we are.’ It’s not just the faculty and it’s not just the students and it’s not just the staff. It’s the hundreds of thousands of people and the thousands of organizations that are behind us to move this university forward,” he said.
The campaign has been in a “quiet” phase since 2010 — with $1 billion already raised through donations by corporations, organizations and, especially, individuals — 260,000 individuals have contributed so far, and 55,600 students have benefited from scholarships during the campaign.
Campaign ASU 2020 officially kicked off Thursday night at a gathering of university leaders and supporters. The focus of the night — and the message of the philanthropic effort — is how the work of ASU touches individuals, both on campus and in the community.
Megan Phillips, a global health major at ASU, has walked the streets of Phoenix with her fellow students to care for homeless people. She said her work at a downtown shelter and at the Student Health Outreach for Wellness clinic provides hope and dignity to homeless people.
“But it also provides students like me the chance to broaden their perspectives and serve the community in a very real way,” said Phillips, who is now the director of programs for the student-run clinic. The clinic is in the midst of raising $5,000 to help further its programs. Read more here.
Professor Charles Arntzen, who has saved lives with the Ebola treatment he developed at ASU, said the private funding he received allowed him to try something new and develop it into the leading therapeutic for Ebola.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to be a scientist who started with a crazy idea and ended up seeing that our product saved lives in Africa,” said Arntzen, who is a Regent’s Professor and holds the Florence Ely NelsonThe Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Chair in Plant Biology was created by created by an endowment from Florence Nelson, who, Arntzen said, "gave me the freedom to explore blue-sky ideas that would typically be considered too risky for conventional grant programs. Florence’s visionary investment ultimately led the way to our discovery of ZMapp, today’s most promising drug treatment for people infected with Ebola." Presidential Chair in Plant Biology.
Crow said that ASU produces change at a huge scale, but it starts with individuals.
“It’s these people who are going to go out and produce these new ideas, produce the changes across the entire spectrum of society,” he said.
ASU must pursue larger, more important goals, Crow said, and become the model for future of higher education.
“This campaign will allow us to build on the momentum of all that we have established thus far and solidify our position as the first institution to successfully blend this level of academic excellence and egalitarian access,” he said.
A history of philanthropy
The university’s very beginning was because of a gift. Donor Craig Weatherup explained that in 1885, local butcher shop owners George and Martha Wilson gave 15 acres of pastureland to build the Territorial Normal School. He noted that two previous fundraising campaigns, in the 1980s and the 1990s, both exceeded their targetsIn the 1980s, the Centennial Campaign set a goal of $75 million and raised $114 million, and in the 1990s, when the campaign set a goal of $300 million and raised $560 million..