Donations up across nation, at Kent State

Ryan Loew

Colleges and universities across the country saw an increase in donations last fiscal year, and Kent State was no exception.

Giving to higher education increased by 3.2 percent in the 2004 fiscal year, reported the Chronicle of Higher Education, marking the first growth in contributions since 2001.

From 2003 to 2004, Kent State raised $3 million in donated funds, said Stephen Sokany, associate vice president of University Development.

“It was a record-breaking year,” he said. “The number one reason why people donate is because they’re asked. Our constituents see the high-quality programs we have here. I think we’ve provided them a compelling case.”

Universities collectively raised $24.4 billion in 2004, according to the Chronicle, which is up from the $23.9 billion collected in both 2003 and 2002, and $24.2 billion in 2001.

“I know we’re seeing an increased amount of planned giving activity,” said Vice President of Administration David Creamer, “and any year you have a good stock market you see more donations.”

Nationally, 27.5 percent of the total, came from alumni, the Chronicle stated. Although alumni is the largest donating group, non-alumni donors, such as corporations, also provided a significant amount of support.

The Campaign for Kent State, which began in 1997 and ended in 2003, raised money from 80,000 donors, Sokany said, 29 percent of whom were alumni while 26 percent were “friends” of the university.

“I think we’re unique in that we have a lot of individual donors who are not alumni,” Sokany said.

Donation money is used to create scholarships and support colleges and athletics, Sokany said.

“It’s really across the board,” he said. “There probably isn’t a program or unit on campus that doesn’t receive some level of support.”

Donations to the university cannot be used to mend the university’s $5 million budget deficit, however, Creamer said, nor can they be used to pay expenses like utility bills.

“Donors don’t typically see themselves as making gifts for correcting shortfalls in state appropriations,” he said.

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].