Record-Setting Annual Fund Delivers Critical Support to Columbus State

Kelley GibsonCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Surpassing its goal and setting a record, Columbus State University’s 2011 Annual Fund has raised more than $2.07 million to provide immediate and flexible support for scholarships, outreach, faculty development and other university needs.

Exceeding its $2.05 million goal, the campaign had raised $2,071,969 by the close of the fiscal year, July 31.

The campaign affirmed the university as a leader among its 11 University System of Georgia peer institutions in private support as a percentage of institutional expenditures.

According to FY 2010 numbers, CSU, at 5.7, ranked first, two points ahead of its closest peer, Kennesaw State, and just a half point behind the University of Georgia among top-tier USG universities in private giving as a percentage of expenditures.

“This is another reflection of the great support provided to Columbus State University by this wonderful community,” said Columbus State President Tim Mescon. “I am so very grateful for this collective investment in our university.”

Annual Fund Director Kelley Gibson said the CSU campaign brought in more than $474,000 from local business donors – under the leadership of corporate chair Brenda Williams, CB&T vice president for corporate banking – and $1.59 million from more than 3,900 individuals. 

“The total raised from companies is an all-time high for the university and represents a 27 percent increase over the previous year," Gibson said. "In the last eight years alone, gifts from CSU alumni have increased 67 percent.” 

Overall, the 2011 campaign surpassed 2010’s $2,025,421 total by more than $46,500 and almost doubled the $1.1 million raised in 2001.

“Once again the community has generously invested in CSU with its time, talent and treasure,” said Meri Robinson, Columbus State’s director of annual giving and alumni relations. “I truly believe that the community continues to invest in us not because we have needs but because we meet needs. Achieving this Annual Fund goal will allow CSU to continue to serve its students and faculty and the residents of this region.”

John T. Hargrove, chair of the 2011 Annual Fund concurred. “Every gift – every dollar – and every volunteer hour was significant and continued to build a stronger foundation for our students, our faculty, our international footprint and CSU’s very strong economic impact on the continued growth of Columbus, Fort Benning and the surrounding communities,” he said. “We are fortunate and blessed to have such a caring community.”

Gibson said the 2011 campaign is specifically critical to scholarship and research funding. “We set an ambitious goal and we were prompted to do so to address the fact we have twice as many qualified applicants for scholarship dollars  and three times as many requests for faculty research assistance for available funds."

These disparities grow with enrollment, now at more than 8,400 students compared to 5,200 in 2000.

Our Annual Fund volunteers effectively pitched the critical need for donors to “‘help CSU create opportunities for deserving students, leading researchers and faculty,’” Gibson said.

Hargrove, principal with H&H Consulting and managing partner of the Columbus Lions professional indoor football team, said student success translates to the building of a strong university and Columbus region, both individually and collectively.  “We can’t let up,”  he said. “It's crucial to build on this momentum, so university leaders can rely on the Annual Fund as a constant resource every year to meet the often-changing and increasingly demanding challenges of delivering educational and economic value at a high level.”

Mescon lauded the service of Hargrove and the other campaign leaders. “I am very proud of our Annual Fund volunteers led by John Hargrove who engineered such an exceptional campaign,” he said. “Kelley Gibson and her team in advancement provided extraordinary professional support and Coach Jay Entlich and Dr. Cindy Henning energized staff and faculty respectively.”

For more information, visit http://giving.ColumbusState.edu/annual_fund.php.