Cal Poly received $39 million in gifts last year through 14,000 individual donors. The majority of the donations came from foundations and corporations, which each gave approximately $11 million, while alumni donated $6.5 million.

“I’m so overwhelmingly of the belief that this is evidence of how people are believing in our campuses and in our system in a way that has not preceded this moment in time,” California State University Chancellor Timothy White said.

The 2018-2019 Donor Support report published by the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees Jan. 28 showed donors restricted $25 million — the majority of the funds — to projects they personally wanted to support.

University President Jeffery Armstrong announced the Power of Doing fundraising campaign last year, with a goal to raise $700 million by 2021.

Where the donations came from

Cal Poly’s donations included a $2 million gift from Jack and Felicia Cashin to create the Expressive Technology Studios for the Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program.

The Resnick Foundation of JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery also gave $2.5 million to create the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture,, matching Jerry Lohr who donated $1 million and promised an additional $1.5 million.

One anonymous donor committed a $50 million gift to Cal Poly, in “general support of student success,” the report said.

Additional donors promised to donate $117 million more in the future. The campus’ general fund is $146 million.

Cal Poly reached out to 116,000 of their 202,000 alumni which they could contact, of which 6,000 donated.

Cal Poly is using $8.4 million of its donations to improve buildings.

The $39 million to the university is a $4 million increase from the previous year, but it matched 2016 donations.

How Cal Poly donations compare to other CSU totals

Cal Poly’s donations were 10 percent of total contributions to the 23-campus CSU system but fell behind the $53 million in donations to San Francisco and $89 million to San Diego.

Across the CSU, donors gave $88 million to faculty and academics, $53 million to public service programs, $33 million to scholarships, $16 million to athletics, $5 million to equipment and facility and another $42 million to other programs for a total of $370 million.

CSU Trustee and San Jose State University Professor Romey Sabalius questioned the $16 million of donations spent CSU-wide on athletics.

“In the CSU, we need to ask the question if we need to be in Division I-A and whether we need to be playing the high cost sports like football and basketball,” Sabalius said. “It’s not a question of whether we should have athletics or not — I’m not against athletics — but I am wary of and question the unequal distribution of funds within athletic programs to the detriment of smaller sports.”

CSU Trustee and real estate investment company CEO Jack McGrory, who played Division I sports while at San Diego State, said the investment in sports pays itself through exciting potential donors.

“San Diego State would not be raising $100 million a year if it weren’t for their Division I sports,” McGrory said. “It would be a completely different number.”

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