Students sitting in class.
Story CSU Foundation

’Tis the Season: Giving to the CSU

Alex Beall

From scholarships and fellowships to basic needs, there are so many ways to make a difference in the lives of CSU students.

Students sitting in class.

Donations like yours have given students the chance to take classes, conduct research and complete internships. Photo courtesy of Cal State San Bernardino​.


​​​​​The giving season is here and the CSU offers many ways to show your holiday spirit and generosity. Your gift—whether to a scholarship, food pantry or capital campaign—​can go a long way toward ensuring someone's brightest future. 

Like that of Manuel Gonzales, who in his senior year at San Diego State University​ earned the prestigious 2018 Ali C. Razi Scholarship through the CSU Trustees’ Award. Today, he’s in his first semester of the San Diego State/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in C​linical Psychology—an accomplishment he says was possible thanks to the scholarship.

“The a​ward paid for all my tuition, as well as helped me pay for housing. It allotted me more protected time to conduct research instead of working a second job to earn the same amount of money,” Gonzales explains. “More important, it aided me in securing a candidate position as a doctoral student. It helped make me more competitive, and it was the central topic of discussion during my Ph.D. interviews.”
Ali C. Razi Scholar Manuel Gonzales giving a presentation.

Ali C. Razi Scholar Manuel Gonzales. Photo courtesy of San Diego State University.

And while the award gave Gonzales an opportunity to reflect on his hard work and demonstrate his academic success to his family, he also thinks the Razi Scholarship will help him achieve his career goals: to become a tenured CSU faculty member conducting Latino health research and mentoring the next generation of underrepresented scientists.

“This has allowed me to have a strong profile that will only continue to grow through my current and future mentorship and has moved me one step closer to becoming tenured faculty at a California State University,” says Gonzales, who was also a 2017-2018 Sally Casanova Scholar​. Students who earn this scholarship participate in a pre-doctoral program that prepares them for a future doctoral program.

“I will ultimately be able to give back to the people and the system that has given me a community I can call home.”

Like Gonzales, many CSU students have been able to take classes, conduct research and complete internships thanks to donations that help fund resources and programs offered at the university’s 23 campuses.

“Those additional funds go toward our ability to serve students better, whether that’s scholarships or grants that help us advance our teacher preparation programs or our efforts in the Graduation Initiative 2025,” says Wendy Chavira Garcia, senior manager of development and donor relations in Systemwide Advancement at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. 

Giving to the Chancellor’s Office

“If friends of the university want to give to a region or a statewide program, then the Chancellor’s Office can facilitate the distribution of the gift,” Chavira Garcia says. “We coordinate with the multiple campuses to get money to the students or programs.”

When looking to make a donation to the university rather than a specific campus, there’s a number of programs to support, like CSU Summer Arts, which hosts intensive masterclasses for art students; scholarships such as the CSU Trustees' Award, which recognizes students with high academic achievement; and a basic care fund called CSU Cares.

The Chancellor’s Office also receives support from foundations for teacher preparation programs, the Graduation Initiative 2025 and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies. 

Giving to the Campuses

You can also give directly to any of the 23 campuses. Each campus’s online donation page highlights ongoing projects, academic programs or other funds that may align with your interests. Whether you’re interested in sports or theater, the sciences or the humanities, each campus offers a variety of opportunities to support student life and education.

Another important way to help: giving to campus food pantries or clothes closets, where students can obtain groceries or professional wear at no cost. Donations help replenish their shelves or clothing racks, but you can also drop off food and clothes or host food or clothing drives that benefit a campus.

“You’re able to donate your suits or work clothes to these closets and then students can go there and get clothing for interviews or jobs,” Chavira Garcia says.​​

Visit Support the CSU​ to explore all the ways to give to either the Office of the Chancellor or a CSU campus.