Giving from Individuals and Alumni

Charitable Giving

The Council for Aid to Education, a division of the Rand Corporation, observes that stock market performance is a leading indicator of contributions to higher education, particularly in gifts for capital purposes—when the market is down, contributions are down.

This observation has certainly held true for the California State University system over the past two years. Giving from alumni and other individuals experienced a decline in both years. This year, gifts from corporations and foundations decreased as well. The decline in corporate and foundation giving is not unexpected given that the contributions budgets of these organizations are typically based on investment performance from the prior year.

As the stock market begins its gradual rebound, giving from individuals should increase at relatively the same pace; however, it may take an additional year or two for giving from corporations and foundations to trend upward.


Over 200,000 individuals supported the university this past year, symbolizing a broad commitment and confidence in the university's mission. Advancement programs have achieved steady progress toward building a tradition of giving among our supporters and, as a result, 38 percent of all gifts to the institution were from alumni, faculty and other friends.

Individual Giving to the CSU 1994-2003


Efforts to enhance relationships with graduates through alumni membership programs continue to pay dividends to the university. There are now 114,117 members of alumni associations across the system. These members contributed 38 percent of the charitable dollars raised from alumni, in addition to providing support through paid membership. In 2002-2003, charitable gifts from alumni exceeded $21 million.

Alumni Giving to the CSU 1994-2003

The average alumni gift declined from $397 to $298, again a result that is consistent with a lackluster economy that left individuals uncertain about disposable income. Even though average gifts were smaller, the alumni participation rate—a comparison of the alumni of record to actual donors—remained constant at 4 percent.

Average Gift from the CSU Alumni 1994-2003

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Last Updated: January 26, 2004