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ASU Foundation generates $147M in support of university

ASU students pose with Markie the Sunspot
November 14, 2014

2013-2014 fiscal year filled with philanthropic milestones

ASU Foundation for A New American University topped $147 million in new gifts and commitments from nearly 100,000 donors in 2013-2014, one of many milestones reached during the organization’s 59th year of support for Arizona State University.

“This great university has a large family of donors who value and help advance the vision of ASU as a New American University,” said R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr., CEO of the foundation. “ASU’s laser-sharp focus on academic excellence, broad access to all qualified students and meaningful societal impact provides so many wonderful opportunities for support, advocacy and participation, and we have been able to connect investors with those opportunities that match their passions.

“Never before in the history of the foundation have we had so many donors come forward in support of student scholarships, faculty endowments, new facilities and programs, groundbreaking research and more."

The foundation endowment grew to $628 million by the end of the fiscal year.

“Behind the numbers and the success stories, the positive impact and the support we provided ASU this year, are the valued and generous donors who are helping the university find the solutions to society’s greatest challenges,” added Shangraw, who has led the foundation since his appointment by ASU President Michael M. Crow in October 2011. “These are higher education advocates who enhance and bring greater value to the real-life and academic lessons being shared by renowned faculty with those who will become tomorrow’s leaders, those who will teach the next generation of changemakers.”

In addition to the milestone level of new gifts and commitments, the foundation realized these successes in 2013-2014:

• Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest, most-utilized evaluator of charities, awarded the ASU Foundation its premier “Four-Star Charity” rating for the third consecutive year. The foundation’s overall score of 96.44 points of 100 possible – based on financial strength and transparency and accountability – was among the highest of all educational institutions ranked.

• GuideStar, an online nonprofit evaluation resource for donors, awarded the foundation the GuideStar Exchange Seal in recognition of its commitment to maintaining transparency and accountability.

• The foundation’s Human Resources department was recognized by The Phoenix Business Journal for “Human Resources Best Practices” during an annual event honoring the “Valley’s most creative and fruitful efforts in employee engagement.”

• Republic Media and CareerBuilder selected the foundation as a “Top Company to Work for in Arizona,” the only foundation to receive such recognition among 75 companies listed.

• Foundation engagement programs continued to engage record numbers of participants. The ASU President’s Club – this year celebrating 30 years of support of the ASU president – achieved total membership of 520, marking an increase of more than 80 percent over the past four years. The organization raised more than $1.2 million in support of the ASU president. In 2013-2014, Women & Philanthropy reached a membership total of 256 and awarded $308,808 to ASU programs, the largest grant total in 11 years. The foundation’s Presidential Engagement Programs, a connection gateway for new and potential donors, attracted 891 attendees to 17 selected ASU lectures, discussions and workshops featuring university faculty and executive leadership members. The Sun Devil Family Association awarded a record 65 scholarships, hosted 14 events nationwide and donated more than 3,362 hours in volunteer service to support ASU student success.

• The foundation’s Assets division will complete the SkySong Innovation III building in October 2014 and has secured leasing commitments for 87 percent of the building. SkySong Innovation IV is currently in design.

• The Research Collaboratory at ASU was launched by the foundation in 2014. The collaboratory will equip faculty, staff and students to rapidly launch special innovative and impactful initiatives. The first collaboratory program is the National Biomarker Development Alliance (NBDA), a trans-sector coalition of academics, patients, advocates and enterprise united to solve critical problems in biomarker development. NBDA support for the development of new biomarkers and standards will enable future patients to make informed decisions and choose custom treatments over one-size-fits-all therapies.

• Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), a foundation affiliate that serves as ASU’s exclusive intellectual property management and tech transfer organization, marketed, negotiated and closed a record number of contracts, resulting in 90 licenses and options, a 55 percent increase from the previous year. AzTE also posted record numbers: 12 ASU faculty startup companies launched, 261 invention disclosures processed and 56 U.S. patents secured.

• The foundation conducted a two-day, social media-driven fundraising micro campaign, “Mark It Day,” that exceeded its goal by more than 3,800 percent. Nearly 1,000 donors, including more than 300 first-time ASU donors, contributed $3.05 million in new gifts and commitments – an average of $17.70 in support during every second of the campaign.

• PitchFunder, a customized crowdfunding program allowing ASU students, faculty, staff and alumni to fundraise for programs and projects, was launched by the foundation in March. The program provides the training, tools and technology necessary to raise charitable funds for university projects, events and organizations that serve societal needs.

• The Council for Advancement and Support of Education awarded the foundation seven regional awards and one Grand Gold award for development communications materials produced on behalf of fundraising initiatives.