California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) launched the public and final phase of its first major philanthropic campaign, DECLARE: The Campaign for CSULB, and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the university’s Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center on Oct. 11. About 350 students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and community leaders attended the invitation-only event, which concluded with a performance by Brian Wilson, iconic songwriter and co-founder of The Beach Boys.
Campaigns, long a tradition at private universities, are now an important source of revenue at public universities, as well. DECLARE: The Campaign for CSULB is the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the university and one of the largest in the California State University system. By attracting new investments to the areas identified as campaign “pillars” (or priorities)— Unequaled Access, Transformation and A Greater Community—the campaign will make it possible for CSULB to provide more scholarships and services, support additional research and creative endeavors, update facilities and equipment and forge new community partnerships.
“This is a historic occasion for the university and another step in the continued path of excellence that has been our tradition here at The Beach,” said Jane Close Conoley, president of CSULB. “This collective effort by our friends, alumni, supporters, the university community and the surrounding community will provide resources and additional scholarships that will help our students succeed and graduate to become meaningful contributors in their professions and in their communities, while also having a positive impact on the economy.”
More than $200 million has already been committed to the campaign, and the university is in a final push to raise another $25 million so it can reach its goal of raising a total of $225 million by the time the campaign concludes in December 2015.
The campaign represents a cultural shift for CSULB, which marks its milestone 65th anniversary this year. The launch of DECLARE signals CSULB’s maturation as a major public university and provides a platform for building “Beach Pride” by encouraging all of those on campus and in the larger community to reflect on the positive impact of the university in their lives and to participate in the campaign by “declaring” their support and appreciation for The Beach.
“The DECLARE campaign is exciting not only from a fundraising perspective but also because it gives us an opportunity to share our remarkable story with a wider audience and to draw greater attention to CSULB’s role as a major academic, cultural, and community resource,” said Andrea Taylor, vice president of University Relations and Development.
Community leaders, including former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill, have enthusiastically endorsed the campaign. “Cal State Long Beach has had such a tremendously positive effect on so many thousands of young people over the years,” said O’Neill, a CSULB alumna and the chair of the CSULB 49er Foundation. “The university is a great asset to this region. Forty-niners receive excellent life-long preparation from faculty and support from staff and then graduate, begin successful careers and contribute to the economy and social well-being of their communities.”