Columbus State Completes Record Annual Fund Campaign

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University supporters and fundraising volunteers recently delivered a record-setting Annual Fund campaign despite a languishing economy.

Exceeding a $2 million goal, the 2010 campaign yielded $2,025,421 to help offset the reduction of  state-allocated funding, which has shrunk by about 30 percent since 2008.
Surpassing by 4.4 percent the $1,939,295 raised in 2009, the campaign also countered a nationwide downward trend in private giving to public colleges and universities, reported this summer by the Chronicle of Higher Education under the headline, “Annual-Fund Revenue Fell in 2009, Along With Participation.”

The 2010 success also follows a national study showing CSU with the highest three-year fund raising average of all University System of Georgia  state and regional colleges and universities. Published in 2009, the Volunteer Support of Education report showed just the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University as raising more money than CSU over the same period.

Columbus State President Tim Mescon stressed this distinction during an Aug. 11 address to faculty and staff.

“The $2 million raised is equal to a $50 million endowment with a 4 percent spending rate going directly to university operations,” he said.

Columbus State Annual Fund Director Kelley Gibson said more than 200 volunteers worked as a team to meet and exceed the goal.

Beyond offsetting shrinking state support, the Annual Fund is critical to meeting student scholarship and faculty support needs that parallel a growing student enrollment, up from about 5,200 in 2000 to more than 8,400 in 2010. The number of qualified scholarship applicants has doubled while requests for faculty research assistance have tripled.

The Annual Fund’s 2010-2011 campaign, with a $2.05 million goal, is now under way.

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