National Foundation Awards Columbus State $1 Million

COLUMBUS, GA The Kresge Foundation has awarded Columbus State University a $1 million challenge grant for CSUs Uptown art and theatre complex, a move that signals the national scale on which the university and its fund-raising efforts now operate.

The money will be used to fund property acquisition and construction costs associated with the renovation of an old textile warehouse and the neighboring historic brick structure called One Arsenal Place, where CSUs departments of art and theatre are moving. Demolition recently began on the warehouse.

This is a tremendous validation of our vision to provide a truly spectacular campus in Uptown Columbus, said CSU President Frank Brown. The Kresge Foundation is an extremely prestigious and discerning organization, and for us to be a recipient of one of their grants is a testament to where we are going and to the people who are helping us plot that path.

The Kresge Foundation, an independent, private foundation based in Troy, Mich., was created in 1924 by Sebastian S. Kresge to promote the well-being of mankind. Through its grant-making programs, the foundation says it seeks to strengthen the capacity of charitable organizations to provide effective programs of quality.

One of the purposes of the Kresge Foundation is to enhance the fund-raising abilities of those institutions awarded grants. The foundations awards are designed specifically to stimulate more interest in a campaign, and challenge more giving to a campaign that is already under way.

For CSU to meet the challenge grant requirements of its first Kresge award, the university must reach $85 million in its fund-raising campaign, An Investment in People, by Oct. 1, 2005. As of Nov. 30, the university has already logged more than $80 million in gifts and pledges to the campaign.

University officials hope CSU alumni will be the key to reaching and exceeding its goal. Stellar community support has already pushed the campaign well beyond what organizers originally thought possible when CSUs campaign was first being analyzed in 2000. With more than 10,000 alumni in the Columbus area and another 12,000 who live outside the region, a push is under way to reach out to those graduates, explain how the university has changed since they left and encourage them to invest in the vision for CSUs future.

Reaching those new supporters is critical, Brown said. Although the campaign already has achieved unparalleled success, more support is needed to infuse the campaign with money that can be used now, since more than $12 million in pledges to the campaign is in wills and bequests. In addition, some projects, such as the riverside art and theatre complex in Uptown Columbus, have grown beyond what was originally envisioned. The university recently announced that internationally acclaimed artist Bo Bartlett will become an artist-in-residence at CSU and plans are being developed to add a permanent learning center and public gallery to the complex.

I have no doubt that well be able to achieve our campaign goals, both in terms of finances and in our plans to elevate the capabilities and status of Columbus State University, said Jimmy Yancey, CSU alumnus, chairman of the board of Synovus Financial Corp. and chairman of CSUs campaign. Our volunteers and our community have really bought into our vision of CSU as a state leader in education and economic development. We are now looking to Columbus States alumni to help us close out this effort.

Brown said the Kresge grant should be viewed as a significant milestone in CSUs young history.

We are clearly on the right path toward establishing a learning environment more advanced than you might expect to find at institutions of similar size, Brown said. With construction beginning in Uptown, and now this grant of $1 million, its exciting to be part of the momentum being generated at Columbus State University.

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Contact: John Lester, (706) 562-1652 or lester_john@ColumbusState.edu