Courtesy of John Rojas

PSU Foundation raises $43 million to support students, programs

The Portland State Foundation raised a total of $43 million for the 2018–19 fiscal year, which helps support PSU programs, student scholarships and awards. 

PSU Interim President Stephen Percy stated in a press release that the money raised goes to “students, faculty, programs and initiatives.” According to PSU Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer William Boldt, the $43 million donated is directed back into campus, with 20% supporting scholarships, 29% toward academic units, 29% to PSU programs and 12% to projects and renovations. 

The $43 million is part of the “public phase” of the fundraising campaign that has been underway since 2012, with an overall fundraising goal of $300 million. Thus far, the total raised for the campaign is $245 million. From that, a total of $8 million was raised in FY19 to support scholarships and awards. 

According to Boldt, donors consist of alumni and philanthropists who donate either on the website, directly or through events such as the Simon Benson Awards Dinner.

“Fundraising dollar goals are set each year based on the needs and goals of the university, conversations with donors, trends and an analysis of various financial factors, including the endowment’s expected performance,” Boldt said. “Our goals are always aspirational, intentionally high to help spark growth and momentum.”

PSU Foundation matches donors with the specific needs of the university, and the money is then dispersed accordingly. It’s the donors who ultimately choose where they want the money go. 

“Donors are more and more interested in giving to specific things, such as scholarships, than they are interested in giving to a university overall,” Boldt said. 

Less than 2% of the money donated is qualified as unrestricted, meaning the university can choose what the money is spent on. 

In regards to the upcoming tuition increase, the money raised impacts the tuition indirectly, according to Boldt. 

“PSU’s cost to educate a student is actually much higher than tuition,” Boldt said. “For students, tuition prices can be affected by…private contributions such as scholarships and awards. These additional sources of aid—and many other factors—are taken into account when the university considers tuition increases.” 

The PSU Foundation was created in 1963 in order to invite philanthropy and private funding for university resources.

“The PSU Foundation works alongside PSU to raise private dollars to support students and faculty, to construct and renovate facilities and to advance PSU research and efforts to serve our city,” Boldt said.