The day after wrapping up its 75th Anniversary, Cal Poly Pomona has another reason to celebrate. The Campaign for Cal Poly Pomona has surpassed its $150 million target, bringing in more than $160 million in donations, bequests and pledges — a record fundraising effort for the university.
“Launching a major campaign in the depths of a recession required a deep belief in the transformative power of a Cal Poly Pomona education,” says University President Michael Ortiz. “Exceeding our goal required an unwavering commitment to that belief. I am deeply thankful to everyone involved in achieving this milestone.”
The campaign, launched six years ago, laid out four goals: strengthen the university’s ability to provide hands-on learning opportunities, prepare students for the changing demands of the workplace, increase research and scholarship opportunities, and ensure that a quality college education remains within reach for underrepresented communities.
“Mission accomplished,” says Michelle Stoddard, acting vice president for advancement. “The university has a great story to tell, and our entire community of supporters believed in the message. We are laying a solid foundation for future generations.”
The campaign theme of Leave Your Mark resonated with more than 17,000 alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the university who stepped forward to show their support with gifts large and small. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation made news and turned heads in 2010 when it announced a $42-million cash gift — the largest such donation in the history of California State University system and a reminder of Cal Poly Pomona’s historical roots. A large slice of the university’s land was once W.K. Kellogg’s winter ranch.
“Mr. Kellogg was a strong believer in higher education, and his vision of ‘investing in people’ has translated into the foundation’s fundamental belief that access to a high-quality education is vital to enhancing the lives of vulnerable youth,” Sterling K. Speirn, the foundation’s president and CEO, said at the time of the gift.
Smaller and heartfelt gifts drew plaudits as well. For example, more than a dozen years ago, custodians Reggie Keys and Sam Berry started donating $5 monthly via payroll deduction, with the gift earmarked for scholarships.
“Whatever kind of money I can give that will help further education, that’s fine with me,” Berry said.
A significant portion of the campaign’s funds will go toward the university’s endowment, which Ortiz says is significant.
“Increasing our endowment will pay benefits well into the future because it is the gift that keeps on giving. Funds generated from an endowment add significant value to the educational experience, and they help the university thrive, even through tough times.”