California State University, Dominguez Hills received a total of $8.3 million in philanthropic gifts and pledges during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The record-breaking amount continues the upward trend of CSUDH giving, almost doubling the total of $4.5 million raised in 2019-2020.
Vice President of University Advancement Scott Barrett shared his excitement for the success of the university’s fundraising efforts. “We set a very aspirational goal for the university, and we were very fortunate to meet that goal,” he said. “It’s clear that our campus is doing inspiring work, and our donors are answering the call to support the needs and opportunities across our campus.”
One important effort involved the Toro Fund, which is the university’s unrestricted annual fund. Due to urgent pandemic-driven needs among the CSUDH student population, money from the Toro Fund was used to support emergency and basic student needs. When asked to support this effort, the response from Toro alumni was impressive: the university received 937 gifts totaling $132,469.
The donations were used to provide more than 1,400 students with meals, fresh produce, and pandemic preparedness kits. In addition, the funds provided shelter for 31 students facing housing insecurity and allowed more than 200 students the opportunity to participate in wellness events.
While the university received federal assistance under the CARES Act to distribute to students, Toro international and undocumented students were not eligible for aid through the COVID-19 relief program. Toro donors stepped up in a big way again, providing $141,000 in direct financial support for these students.
“When CARES funding came through, it helped support our documented, domestic students, but left out all of our international and undocumented students,” says Barrett. “The fact that we had the money in the Toro Fund to be able to support those students was critically important.”
Among the most noteworthy alumni donors is Doug LeBon, co-founder and senior managing director of Pathway Capital Management LLC in Irvine, Calif.. LeBon, who attained both his BS in business administration (1976) and MBA (1979) from CSUDH, contributed a remarkable $500,000 for student scholarships and an additional $200,000 for technology in the new Innovation & Instruction Building – in total, the largest donation to the university by a living alum in CSUDH history.
Long-time Toro supporter Maureen McCarthey, an alumna who earned her MA in special education from CSUDH in 1996, contributed $70,000 to the Maureen P. McCarthey Foundation Scholarship, which she originally established in 2001. Her contributions have increased over the years, and this is now one of the university’s premier scholarship endowments.
Generous corporate and foundation support was also essential in meeting the university’s philanthropic goals for the year. Among the notable corporate donors was the Sony Corporation, who contributed $150,000 to the CSUDH Male Success Alliance (MSA). Kaiser Permanente also gave $100,000 to the MSA.
Other outside contributors included the Del E. Webb Foundation, which donated $79,000 towards the purchase of a virtual cadaver table for the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which contributed a total of $152,000 earmarked for journalism and media programs, as well as emergency and COVID-19 related student needs.
“The entire University Advancement team and I celebrate the hard work we have all put into raising the threshold of giving to the campus,” said CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham. “These contributors range from philanthropists to individual donors and passionate alumni, all of whom believe in the Dominguez Hills story and trust that we will manage their gifts with integrity and righteous character. As we continue to transform lives, we are blessed to have strategic partners who are prepared to join us in changing the trajectory of students’ lives and this campus.”
The CSUDH Philanthropic Foundation has set a multi-year goal to secure $10 million or more in scholarships and student success support by June 2026. They are well on their way to attaining that goal: in the first year of their initiative alone, more than $5 million was committed to these student needs.
Barrett was quick to point out the critical role that the volunteers on the board played in the record fundraising haul. “We can’t do this without leadership from the Philanthropic Foundation board,” he said. “They support us with their own philanthropy, and they connect us to the individuals and corporations that they know, thereby extending our network to a much broader range. They know people and organizations who want to support issues of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, academic excellence, and access. That’s where some of the very best gifts have come from.”
“I think this is the beginning of an upward trajectory,” he added. “We expect that philanthropic investment will continue to grow on a sustainable basis over the next few years. When we look at the nature and the history of CSUDH, our alumni, and the support we receive from the wider community, in terms of friends and corporate and foundation gifts, I think we can be very confident that’s where we’re headed.”