Giving from Individuals and Alumni

Charitable Giving

The California State University continues to enhance the teaching and learning experience through the generosity of private donors. Donors committed over $283 million in new gifts, new pledges and testamentary provisions in fiscal year 2003-2004. These supporters followed a trend of stretching commitments over multiyear pledges during the state’s weak economic recovery. The $283 million in philanthropic productivity represents the work accomplished by presidents and their staff in attracting support to the university during the fiscal year. This achievement compares to $302 million in philanthropic productivity achieved in 2002-2003.

Charitable gift receipts, a combination of new gift receivables and pledge payments, totaled over $227 million. Gift receipts represent the ongoing work of advancement programs that result in cash and in-kind gifts received during the fiscal year. Charitable gift receipts declined 4.4 percent in 2003-2004 compared to the prior year. The Giving USA Foundation recently reported that, nationally, gifts to education dropped 3 percent in 2003 and 2 percent in 2002.

Of all charitable gifts received, donors designated 97 percent for specific purposes. Recognizing the needs of a growing student population, alumni and friends provided more than $13 million for student aid and over $51 million toward building projects. Additionally, nearly $39 million was contributed toward university endowments.


The number of individuals giving to the CSU grew by 12,000 supporters in 2003-2004, reaching a total of 212,000 individual donors. The number of donors is a key indicator of success in attracting private support to the university. In 2003-2004, San Diego State received contributions from over 60,000 alumni, faculty, staff and other friends. The average number of individual donors among CSU institutions was 9,000.

Individual Giving to the CSU 1999-2003


Efforts to enhance relationships withgraduates through alumni membership programs continue to pay dividends to the university. Alumni membership for 2003-2004 reached 113,000 and provided $1.9 million in membership dues. Additionally, these members contributed $8.2 million in charitable gifts, representing 40 percent of all alumni gifts to the university.

For the fourth consecutive year, giving from alumni declined. The generosity of the 1990s during the stock market bubble has given way to a more cautious donor base. Although consumer confidence and the stock market have shown some signs of improvement, it generally has not been enough to encourage donors to be more optimistic about their discretionary dollars.

Alumni Giving to the CSU 1999-2003

Nationally, a study of alumni from public universities concluded that giving priorities in times of economic stress tend to favor local charities — church and social service agencies.* Contributing to an alma mater ranked third.

In 2003-2004, the average gift from an alumni donor declined from $298 to $278.

Average Gift from the CSU Alumni 1994-2003

* The Impact of the Economic Uncertainty on Giving by Public University Alumni” by Bentz Whaley Flessner (2002).

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Last Updated: January 24, 2005