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New Single-Year Giving Total Headlines Long List of New Records for Georgia State

With $43.5 million raised in fiscal year 2014-15, Georgia State University broke its previous fundraising record and passed the $40 million mark for the first time ever.

As impressive as that number is, it is only the first on a long list of records and milestones from Georgia State’s most successful fundraising year ever.

“The momentum we have achieved is undeniable,” says University President Mark P. Becker. “We are truly honored to have so many individual donors, businesses and foundations not only believing in our university but also investing in our mission of student success and opportunity.”

FY2014–15 saw Georgia State bring in its largest single gift ever, a $22.8 million grant from the Woodruff Foundation that will support a variety of significant campus improvements. They include the conversion of the annex building at 25 Park Place to the Creative Media Industries Institute, a centerpiece of cutting-edge technology that will put students side by side with innovators and entrepreneurs in Atlanta’s rapidly expanding film, music and digital media industries. The Woodruff grant will also accelerate Georgia State’s ongoing efforts to expand campus green space and improve beautification of existing outdoor areas.

Numerous individuals also contributed transformative gifts to the record-breaking total, including:

  • J. Mack Robinson College of Business alumnus Phil Oneacre and wife Jeanne, whose planned gift will create a host of new scholarships in the Honors College, athletics department, and business college;
  • College of Law graduate Mark Biernath, whose planned gift comes just as the law school opens its brand-new building;
  • Alumnus and GSU Foundation board member Joseph Reinkemeyer, whose pledge includes university-wide support as well as specific funding for the Robinson College and athletics;
  • Alumna Peg Cooley, whose pledge will create a new scholarship fund; and
  • Foundation board chair Brad Ferrer and his wife Patty, who pledged support for Robinson’s Institute for Insight, an innovative data analytics program.

Georgia State broke another annual record with $101 million in research grants, $20 million more than the previous year and the first time the university has topped the $100 million mark. The school also found early success with a number of innovative outreach efforts, most notably its new crowdfunding website, impact.gsu.edu, which raised more than $56,000 in its first year from 560 donors. Four crowdfunding projects, including sending the school marching band to New York to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and providing physical therapy for migrant workers in south Georgia, exceeded their fundraising goals.

The most important achievements, though, were not the broken fundraising records themselves but the new records students and faculty will be able to set as a result of that support.

“Each year, we’re graduating a higher percentage of students,” Becker says. “Each year, we’re seeing fewer students have to cut their college careers short because of subpar grades or financial difficulties. And each year, we continue to rank as one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies. Those, to me, are the true metrics for success at Georgia State.”

Walter Massey, Georgia State’s vice president for development and alumni affairs and president of the Georgia State University Foundation, points out that growing community support is the driving force behind those achievements.

“I don’t think it’s an accident that our recent increases in student success rates and fundraising have been happening simultaneously,” Massey says. “Support from our alumni and community is powering our students, faculty and researchers to new heights of achievement, and it’s sending a message to the rest of the country that Georgia State represents a wonderful investment in a brighter future. On behalf of our entire university, I thank all the loyal supporters and friends whose generosity has helped make these great things possible.”