CSUN looks to fundraising to pick up rest of tab

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In reaction to a state budget that cannot provide all of the funding needed to pursue special programs and university operations at CSUN, the university raised $19 million in 2004-05 in private donations through relationships with alumni, parents, foundations and corporations, said John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson.

Each year the CSU system will set goals for every CSU campus to meet and exceed its state-supported budget by 10-15 percent.

The state provides CSUN a certain amount of funding to support the operation of the university, but for CSUN to adhere to the set goals of the CSU system, the university needs to come up with the money itself, Chandler said.

Private donations go to support the university, but are separate from the budget, he said.

“Our goal is to make the university and its programs the best it can be,” Chandler said. “The state provides the basic support and we rely on private support to go beyond that and do more.”

The money the university earns from fundraising helps support student scholarships, specialized academic programs and facilities that the state does not fund.

Private support for scholarships allows the university to support students based on their achievement, and the state funds the university based on its financial needs. Fundraising is an ongoing effort within the university that several people are involved with, including CSUN President Jolene Koester, who has made fundraising a major goal of her presidency since she arrived in 2000.

“Results for our campus is that both the university, its students and our programs will have a margin of excellence beyond what state funds will provide,” Chandler said.

University Advancement, as well as directors of development in each academic college, primarily handles fundraising projects for CSUN.

The university comes up with a project, then individuals and corporations look at the proposal to decide whether they will help fund the project or not, said Geetha Thomas, assistant vice president resource manager for University Advancement.

“Many people have different motivations and they want to give to various areas,” Thomas said.

The university often struggles with finding people or corporations willing to donate money to future projects or scholarships, Thomas said.

With CSUN currently in its beginning stage of fundraising for the future 1,600-seat Valley Performing Arts Center, the university launched its general fundraising and capital campaign July 1.

The state will support only the part of the project related to the university’s academic programs.

Half of the $100-million project will be funded by the state, while the other half will come from private donations, Chandler said.

The goal for the university is to raise $50 million.

CSUN recently received a large monetary donation from a deceased couple’s estate: Jack and Mary Bayramian.

The Bayramians were people who wanted to give back to the students at CSUN, Thomas said. CSUN alumna Mary Bayramian and her husband donated their entire $7.3 million estate to the university this summer.

The smaller sum of that donation – $2.3 million – will go toward funding scholarships for students who will work and take classes in the new VPAC, with the other funds toward other scholarship programs.

In May, CSUN received a $1 million donation from alumnus Harvey Bookstein, co-founder of the Los Angeles accounting firm RBZ, LLP, Thomas said. The donation went toward the creation of the Harvey and Harriet Bookstein Chair in Taxation in the College of Business and Economics.

“A lot of our alumni, if they are financially wealthy, want to give back to the college,” Thomas said.

Valencia Bankston can be reached at valencia.bankston.677@csun.edu.