MSU Sets Annual Fundraising Record with $272.6M in Gifts, Pledges

Michigan State University in East Lansing has recorded the best fundraising year in its 164-year history by raising more than $272.6 million in gifts and pledges for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
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MSU campus
MSU raised more than $272.6 million in gifts and pledges for the fiscal year, setting a record. // Photo courtesy of Michigan State University

Michigan State University in East Lansing has recorded the best fundraising year in its 164-year history by raising more than $272.6 million in gifts and pledges for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The previous record of $271.9 million was set in 2016, two years after the public launch of the Empower Extraordinary campaign.

“Fundraising is about more than dollars and cents — it ensures we can continue to improve the world around us, educate the next generation, and create a stronger teaching and learning environment for all,” says Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., the recently inaugurated president of MSU. “It will be a great privilege to connect with all of the alumni and donors who have made this possible.”

MSU’s success bucks that trend of universities experiencing a drop in giving during the months leading up to and immediately following the close of a capital campaign. December 2018 was the school’s best December on record, with $54.9 million raised. June 2019, the last month of the fiscal year, also finished strongly with $35 million raised.

Giving was up in all priority areas compared to the previous year. Nearly $66 million was given to support students, including scholarships and fellowships; $63.9 million to support faculty, including 24 new endowed faculty positions; $52.6 million for research activities; and $84.6 million for facilities and discretionary funds.

“This year, we celebrated the end of the Empower Extraordinary campaign, which was a tremendous success in terms of dollars raised and impact made,” says Marti K. S. Heil, vice president for University Advancement. “But it was also a success because our generous donors haven’t stopped giving. The campaign’s message forged a lasting connection with thousands of Spartans who continue to support our areas of greatest need, as well as the programs and causes that matter most to them.”

In total, 80,769 donors made gifts and pledges to MSU between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Counted among those individuals are alumni, who gave $138.1 million; friends of MSU, who gave $50.7 million; and faculty and staff, whose support totaled $20.6 million.

Nearly 70 percent of all dollars raised came from 316 donors who made gifts of $100,000 or more. The largest gift was made in September 2019 — $30 million from Edward J. Minskoff for the Broad College Business Pavilion — and is the largest single gift from an individual donor in MSU’s history.

There were a record 60 seven-figure gifts, totaling $117.5 million. Prior to this fiscal year, seven-figure gifts in fiscal years 2014-18 brought in between $82.1 million and $82.8 million per year, making this year’s total the largest amount from seven-figure commitments MSU has ever received.

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