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ASU Foundation earns 7 medals in CASE awards competition

CASE District VII logo
February 26, 2014

The Arizona State University Foundation for A New American University has been recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for “excellent achievement that stands out above the best” during the 2013 CASE District VII Awards of Excellence. The awards committee presented the foundation with seven medals of excellence – four golds, a silver and two bronzes – across six categories in print, electronic and digital communications, and advancement services.

The foundation’s “Mark It Day” crowdfunding event led the way, earning three medals.

The yearly awards program showcases best practices in alumni relations, fundraising, public/government relations, advancement services, special events and outstanding communications. The competition was judged by marketing and communications experts in District VII, a region representing professionals and institutions in Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands and Utah. The large geographic area includes every size and type of institution, and this year’s awards went to 150 entries in more than 70 categories.

“It is always an honor to be recognized by your peers, especially when it is in recognition of work that has been done in exemplary service to the university and our generous philanthropic investors,” said foundation CEO R. F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. “Our commitment to quality and innovation is a reflection of our values, and it can be seen in these prestigious awards.”

In the publications category, the foundation communications and marketing team earned a pair of gold medals. One was awarded for the production of a 203-page, four-color coffee-table book, “From Normal School to New American University: A History of the ASU Foundation.” Originally authored by the late Dean Smith, a one-time university spokesman and noted Arizona historian, the book was completed by Marshall Terrill in ASU’s Public Affairs Office, following Smith’s passing in 2012. Working with ASU archivist Robert Spindler and foundation leaders in development, donor relations, leadership giving, finance and strategic philanthropy, the communications and marketing team researched, fact-checked, edited and designed the book in time for its introduction at the 2013 ASU Founders Day event.

A second gold medal presented to the foundation in the publications category went to the 2013-2014 ASU Sun Devil Family Association Resource Guide, produced in conjunction with a rebranding of the 29-year-old ASU Parents Association. The popular guide was designed to reflect the values of a New American University that encourages the support and inclusion of all ASU student family members, and to provide relevant information to both the student as well as the family member – information to help them better navigate the university’s unique environment. The 28-page, four-color booklet was created by the communications and marketing team in partnership with SDFA leadership.

A CASE gold medal was awarded in the advancement services category to the foundation’s donor relations team for its creation of an ASU Leadership Circle recognition gift created by metal sculpture student Kyle Blalock in the university’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Damon McIntyre, a wood sculptor who earned his master of fine arts at the Herberger Institute. The gift, presented to ASU’s top donors, features a unique, custom-made copper medallion (a tribute to Arizona’s rich copper history) housed in a hand-crafted, cherry-wood box. In addition to the individual donor’s name is the inscription “Ego Tibi Maximum Gratias Ago” (I give you many great thanks), which appears above the engraved signature of ASU President Michael M. Crow.

A fourth gold medal was awarded in the fundraising/comprehensive campaign category for the 2013 Mark It Day event, the foundation’s innovative and highly successful 37-hour crowdfunding effort to raise $73,373 for ASU – a fundraising goal that matched the university’s record student enrollment during the 2012-2013 school year. The campaign, a collaboration between the foundation’s communications and marketing, and annual giving teams, generated more than $170,000 through the generosity of 991 donors, who made 1,166 gifts to more than 100 ASU funds.

Mark It Day was also awarded a silver medal in the fundraising/videos category for a two-minute Mark It Day video, “Markie: A Story of Philanthropy.” The two-minute “mockumentary” features ASU alumnus and Arizona official state historian Marshal Trimble story-telling Markie’s long philanthropic history at the normal-school-turned-university. Markie, a six-foot walking Internet-style map marker, visits locations on the ASU’s four campuses to show where philanthropy has made its mark and positively impacted the advancement of the university.

A bronze medal was awarded to Mark It Day in the digital/innovative technology category for the communications and marketing team’s utilization of a “marker map” of the United States that recorded in real time a donor’s name, town and state, a personalized thank you message from Markie, a countdown clock and dollar-amount-raised running total each time a gift was made.

In the advertising campaigns category, the foundation’s 2013-2014 “Philanthropy is …” messages, featured in print, electronic, social media and outdoor outlets, were awarded a bronze medal. The campaign, created by the editorial services and creative services teams in foundation communications and marketing, includes a variety of taglines, such as “Philanthropy is opening doors,” “Philanthropy is your legacy” and “Philanthropy is their future.”

“Philanthropy is …” ads have appeared in a number of high-profile Valley magazines and in Sun Devil Athletics venues and broadcasts, generating more than 3 million impressions since their introduction in July 2013.

The CASE District VII honors come on the heels of the 2013 MarCom Awards national recognition earned by the foundation for excellence and creativity in print, electronic and social media communications. In that competition, the foundation earned six national awards from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals.

“While we are very honored by these awards, our sole motivation remains to serve this great university and steward the best interests of our valued investors each and every day,” said Shangraw. “This is a team effort, and everyone at the foundation is proud of their role in advancing the New American University that is ASU.”

About the ASU Foundation: Incorporated in 1955, the ASU Foundation for A New American University is a premier-rated Charity Navigator 4-Star nonprofit. The foundation ensures the success of ASU as a New American University by partnering the university and the community as a force for positive change. The foundation’s revolutionary model of donor relations identifies each investor’s passion, then facilitates a sustainable affiliation between the investor and the ASU college or institute that shares that passion. Focused on service, engagement and innovation values, the ASU Foundation accesses the momentum and intellectual power of a New American University to enable investors to solve problems and change their world. Learn more about the foundation at

Steve Des Georges,
senior director, editorial services, ASU Foundation