SDSU Foundation donations hit new high

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson

The SDSU Foundation hit new highs in private donations and in donor numbers last year.

Private donations in 2005 reached $14.8 million, a 44 percent increase from 2004. This is due primarily to a seven percent rise in total donors, said Foundation President David Marquardt.

“Once again, SDSU alumni and friends showed their willingness to make vital things happen on this campus through private support,” Marquardt said.

Because of the increased financial support, SDSU was able to create 191 new scholarships, many of which are named after donors. Some of the money is also being used to fund the Jackrabbit Guarantee, one of SDSU’s largest scholarship programs.

“The impact of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts will continue to be most noticeable in the area of scholarships,” said Steve Erpenbach, vice president of development for the Foundation. “With programs like the Jackrabbit Guarantee allowing SDSU to grow at a time when high school enrollments in South Dakota are on the decline, donors understand the need to provide more scholarships and enable SDSU to maintain that competitive edge.”

In addition to scholarships, donations are being directed towards the renovation of the United Ministries Center, which is being transformed into a student tutoring and advising center. The money will also be used for teaching development, giving instructors the opportunity to attend professional conferences and teaching seminars.

Last year’s financial gifts are also allowing the university to expand on research opportunities.

SDSU programs attract new donors and university partnerships strengthen from year to year, said Jeff Muchow, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, in a statement from the 2005 Honor Roll of Contributors booklet.

SDSU alumni donated 47.4 percent of last year’s total donations. Businesses and foundations, friends of the university, faculty and staff and trusts and bequests also contributed in 2005.

With the transition to Division I, Marquardt believes the Midwest’s awareness has risen and that SDSU has reached a more national level in terms of overall exposure, making impossible donations become possible. The Foundation hopes for another record-breaking year in which SDSU can continue to experience academic advancement.

“Pledges from SDSU friends tend to be good as gold,” Marquardt said.

The Foundation is a private non-profit organization that receives and oversees private gifts made to SDSU, said Marquardt. A 56-member volunteer board of directors serves as the governing body for the Foundation. These directors are elected to serve a 3-year term and come from a variety of backgrounds across the nation.

In addition to creating numerous scholarships and endowment programs, the Foundation raises money to help launch new programs, like the equestrian team, as well as helping with fundraisers for existing organizations. The Foundation also receives financial gifts from alumni wanting to invest money in programs they graduated in.