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MSU raises $272 million for best fundraising year in university's history

"We are grateful for our donors' generosity, which again demonstrates how Spartans' individual strength can become a collective power that has extraordinary impact."

Benefactor's Plaza

Not to be outdone by the previous two record-breaking fiscal years, Michigan State University has closed the 2015-16 books on what is officially the most successful fundraising year in MSU history, a year in which $272 million was raised toward the Empower Extraordinary campaign goal of $1.5 billion.

After the public launch of Empower Extraordinary in October 2014, MSU enjoyed two consecutive years of raising $238 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

To date, more than 249,000 donors have contributed more than $1.2 billion toward the campaign goal. The campaign is scheduled to conclude in 2018.

“The success of this campaign shows how MSU’s mission to drive innovation and discovery, while providing world-class education and experiences for our students, is important to all those supporting Empower Extraordinary,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “We are grateful for our donors’ generosity, which again demonstrates how Spartans’ individual strength can become a collective power that has extraordinary impact.”

Across the board, fundraising markers of success were up.

There were 110,893 donors to the university in the 2016 fiscal year, up from 102,513 donors in 2015. Gifts from individuals were up 16 percent, from last year’s $152 million to $176.9 million this year.

Among those individuals, alumni donors contributed $114.2 million, and contributions from MSU faculty and staff totaled $24.9 million – which represent  12- and 55-percent increases, respectively, over last fiscal year’s totals.

Seventy-three percent of all dollars raised came from gifts of 6-, 7- and 8-figures, with four gifts of more than $10 million; 53 7-figure gifts; and 289 gifts in the $100,000-$999,000 range.

Support from corporations and corporate foundations jumped 90 percent, from $16.7 million last fiscal year to $31.8 million in 2016.

The total raised in FY 2016 includes both outright gifts and new pledges of gifts over time. Not all of the funds are immediately available for expenditure—more than 48% of the dollars raised will go toward endowments.

Gifts given by alumni and friends in the form of check or credit card and ranging between $5 and $10,000 also grew in FY 2016. Coming from more than 48,900 donors these gifts totaled $7.4 million and supported causes that reached across the entire university —representing a 16% increase in donors, and a 10% increase in revenue over last fiscal year.

“This year, by hosting campaign events in major cities around the country, we brought MSU’s story directly to donors, alumni, and friends who are passionate about helping to shape it,” said Bob Groves, vice president for University Advancement. “Our unprecedented fundraising success reflects the dedication and generosity of many donors who see the value of MSU in their lives and community.”


Combined $10 million gift from Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and $5 million gift from Peter and Joan Secchia supports MSU Grand Rapids Research Center.

$4.5 million from Robert and Georgia Burgess creates the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship in the Eli Broad College of Business.

$3.1 million gift from Draymond Green supports MSU Men’s Basketball program, Breslin Center project.

$2.5 million from John and Becky Duffey creates professorship in the School of Hospitality Business, supports Breslin Center project.

$2 million from anonymous donor funds bridge research in MSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

$1.75 million gift from Craig Rogerson funds engineering professorship

$1.5 million from William and Audrey Farber inspires further gifts, creates Holocaust Studies chair in Jewish Studies.

$1 million from former Michigan governor James Blanchard and wife Janet establishes public service award and lecture series.

$1 million from College of Law Trustee Mike Morris helps future lawyers

$1 million gift from Al and Nancy Gambrel creates professorship in management

$1 million gift from William and Cherilyn Deary impacts athletic endowments and facilities

Donation from Rovi Corp. builds largest media collection in the U.S. at MSU Libraries