KSU’s donations decrease

Rachel Abbey

Kent State’s donations decreased last year, though gifts to universities nationwide increased.

Contributions to colleges and universities grew by 4.9 percent last year to $25.6 billion, said Ann Kaplan, director of the annual Voluntary Support of Education survey from the Council for Aid to Education. Those estimates are based on the 1,005 institutions surveyed.

These numbers may be the highest ever, Kaplan said, but with donations increasing every year because of inflation, this is not unusual. The 4.9 percent increase is typical for the current economy, but increases were in the double digits in the 1990s.

Donations to Kent State fell last year, said Kathy Stafford, vice president for university relations and development. The university raised $13.1 million in the 2004-2005 academic year.

The university reached its fundraising high the year before, Stafford said. During the 2003-2004 academic year, Kent State raised $19.8 million. This was the year after the university’s first campaign.

“That’s just the way momentum ebbs and flows,” she said. “When you’re in a campaign, you’re concentrating on certain things, and you build up momentum.”

After a campaign, donations usually decrease, Stafford said.

“You can’t sustain these kinds of things year after year,” she said.

The amount of money raised should increase this year, she said. The university is ahead of where it was at this time last year.

According to the council’s press release, national support from alumni and foundations increased, while corporate support, excluding programs such as sponsorships and partnerships, did not. Nearly half of all donations come from individuals.

“Their reasons for supporting them are more personal than abstract,” Kaplan said.

Businesses will usually support specific programs, she said, but individuals have personal connections. Many supporting foundations include members who are alumni.

Kent State has a very balanced program, Stafford said. The university receives money from alumni, foundations and businesses.

The majority of gifts come from alumni, said Steve Sokany, associate vice president for university development.

“The reason you get the majority from alumni is because they have a built-in connection,” Sokany said.

Kent State’s alumni participation is at about 8 percent, he said, below the national average.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].