As the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year public higher education institution, the California State University strives to be a leader in providing affordable degree opportunities for students of all backgrounds. On every CSU campus, outstanding faculty are leading the way, redesigning courses, applying innovative teaching practices and using data more effectively to address equity gaps.Through their investments in areas proven to have an impact on degree completion and student achievement, donors are critical strategic partners. They help address the well-being of all CSU students while fostering a strong sense of belonging and academic purpose that positively impacts learning. The result is dramatically improved student achievement.
Mercury Insurance provided $50,000 to the Women’s Leadership Program at California State University, Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. This is the first gift for the program, which was launched in 2015 to provide curriculum and training that prepares female students to advance into leadership positions after graduation.
“Women represent half the workforce, but only 4 percent of the top or CEO positions,” says Goli Sadri, Ph.D., professor of management and director of the Women’s Leadership Program. “The grant from Mercury Insurance allows us to further explore what has been impeding their progress and gives us the opportunity to help more students achieve their full potential.”
The CSU campuses of Channel Islands, Northridge and Fresno, along with Portland State University, received a $75,000 joint grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation Foundation to help tackle freshman-year dropout rates. The shared award will launch collaborative projects to identify and overcome barriers that cause students to leave school during the critical freshman year.
Sonoma State University has received nearly $2.3 million in recent scholarship gifts, donations that will provide sweeping support for underserved students for years to come. Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation pledged $1.7 million over five years; Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria contributed $270,000; Rodney Strong Vineyards donated $250,000; and Cooperages 1912, representing World Cooperage and T.W. Boswell wine barrels, committed $50,000.
California State University, Los Angeles has received a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to train faculty to better engage with science students of all backgrounds. The five-year grant will establish the Science Faculty for Inclusive Excellence and Transformation project to support students from historically underrepresented communities; those who are the first in their family to attend college; and students who are working adults with families.
While Cal State LA is already ranked very high in the U.S. for the upward mobility of its students, the overarching goal of this project is to lower and eventually eliminate the achievement gap between students of various ethnic and racial backgrounds.
“We anticipate that at the end of five years of implementing this project, we will have a community of transformed faculty and transformed students who work collaboratively to achieve academic excellence for all students in the sciences,” says Andre Ellis, Ph.D., the grant’s principal investigator and Cal State LA professor of geosciences and environment.
Students at San Diego State’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PFSA) often graduate with an advantage in the competitive job market: internships that provide practical experience, skills and connections and, sometimes, the offer of full-time employment. That’s thanks to a program at PFSA that utilizes donor-created scholarships, many endowed by SDSU alumni, to assist students in obtaining internships. The program also provides a stipend to cover career essentials like transportation and professional clothing.
A $1 million gift from the Epstein Family Foundation will allow the Veterans Center at California State University San Marcos to double its physical space and expand the programming, support services and scholarships it provides to military-affiliated students and their dependents.
“Cal State San Marcos has a great tradition of helping student veterans and their families,” says philanthropist Daniel J. Epstein. “I’m pleased that this gift will enhance the Veterans Center’s ability to support the men and women who have served our country.”
The Crankstart Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization established by tech venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman, has made a $50,000 grant to support students who transfer to Humboldt State University from California community colleges. Ten Humboldt State transfer students will be awarded $2,500 Crankstart Scholarships for each of the next two academic years.
The Dr. Marvalene Hughes University Reflecting Pond at California State University, Stanislaus has been named in honor of a transformational leader. Dr. Hughes was president of Stanislaus State from 1994 to 2005, becoming the university’s longestserving leader as well as its first woman and first African American president.
Dr. Hughes has announced that she will create a student leadership training initiative that will feature an annual training conference. "What I promise to you, for the rest of my life, and even after, I am committed to making whatever leadership training opportunities can be made for student leaders on this campus," she says.
Project Success, a California State Polytechnic University, Pomona program that helps first-year male Latino and African American students thrive academically and socially, has received a two-year $100,000 grant from the Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund, through the California Community Foundation (CCF).
“Project Success’ mission of expanding postsecondary opportunities for young men of color is exactly the work we seek to support through the Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund and across our education grant-making,” says Efrain Escobedo, CCF’s vice president of education and immigration.
Robert and Leslie Taylor have been longtime supporters of California State University, Monterey Bay. In 2002, they endowed a scholarship that continues to this day, and in 2015 they made an endowed gift to support the university’s golf program. For the last eight years, Leslie has been co-chair of the Have a Heart for Students Dinner and Auction, an annual event that has raised close to $2 million for student success.
The California State University, San Bernardino Philanthropic Foundation, in partnership with Growing Inland Achievement (GIA), has received two 24-month grants, totaling $1.1 million, from College Futures Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation.
The grants will be used to increase bachelor’s degree attainment rates among students who are historically underserved and underrepresented in higher education in the Inland Empire. According to the GIA, for every 1,000 high school freshmen in the region, currently only 151 will go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.
A $150,000 donation to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo from the Tanklage Family Initiative to End Homelessness will assist students who are confronting homelessness or housing instability. The multiyear gift, which will be administered through the Cal Poly Cares program, was created in honor of the late Donald Tanklage, a 1957 architectural engineering Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alumnus.