Campaign FAQ

SF State is a public university. Why does it need to raise private support?

The State of California continues to fund a portion of the annual budgets for the 23 campuses and eight centers that make up the California State University (CSU) system. While the amount allocated to the campuses by the state has become a smaller proportion of our budget over time – currently less than 40 percent – by exercising prudent fiscal management SF State continues to meet its basic operating expenses largely through a combination of state appropriations, gifts and grants, earned income and tuition. Notably, SF State’s tuition is among the lowest for any public university in the Bay Area and nationally.

However, as the region and the world evolve, so too must SF State, otherwise the University’s programs and degrees risk diminishing in quality and relevance. This is where private support makes all the difference. Gifts to SF State allow the University to propel existing programs forward, develop innovative new initiatives, recruit and retain eminent faculty, maintain access and diversity by offering more scholarships and fellowships to attract outstanding students, and expand and modernize campus facilities.


Why is the Bold. Thinking. campaign significant?

President Wong and the SF State community share a compelling vision for the University, which includes helping more students earn degrees under the guidance of dynamic and inspiring expert faculty, fine-tuning initiatives that prepare our graduates for the job market, creating a more personalized, evidence-driven approach toward increased academic success, and offering a dramatically enriched student life for the growing number of students who live on or near campus. In short, our vision is a great leap forward for SF State, and making it happen will require extraordinary resources. Bold. Thinking., the first comprehensive campaign in the University’s history, will provide the means to achieve this vision while demonstrating SF State’s great value in the Bay Area and beyond.


Why is the timing of this campaign important?

Our region is in a period of historic transition. The most recent tech boom continues to attract bright, creative, and innovative individuals at an unprecedented rate, creating ripple effects throughout every level of society: economic, social, cultural, and educational. As an institution with a history of anticipating and acting on change, SF State is well positioned to both contribute to and benefit from the new dynamism now reshaping the Bay Area and helping to fuel the state and national economy. In fact, SF State’s impact on the regional economy surpasses $1 billion, and our University is Silicon Valley’s third largest employee source.  Bold. Thinking. will allow us to act quickly and nimbly to capitalize on this momentum while profoundly transforming and positioning SF State on the Pacific Rim as a leading university of the future.


What is the campaign goal?

Bold. Thinking. will elevate SF State to a well-earned place among our nation’s most diverse and innovative universities, promising better futures through affordable access to high-quality education while making an even greater contribution to the economic and social fabric of the Bay Area. In the six years ending December 31, 2020, SF State will raise $150 million in private support to make this happen.


How does Bold. Thinking. support students?

No one will benefit more from the campaign’s success than our students. Every campaign priority – whether a scholarship, endowed chair, or new building – points to an even better student experience at SF State.


How does Bold. Thinking. support faculty?

In addition to the scholarly research and educational resources – not to mention prestige – provided by endowed chairs, faculty will benefit from increased programmatic support, leading-edge facilities, and – most importantly – highly motivated and successful students. In a very competitive professional marketplace, especially in the Bay Area, Bold. Thinking. will make it possible for SF State to recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty who are as distinctly committed to engaging student learning as they are to pioneering scholarship in their fields.


Why should I support SF State?

While there are many reasons to invest in SF State, the common denominator is one of impact. Our university provides significant numbers of students, many of whom are first generation and even more from communities of color, with the only opportunity they may have to earn a college degree. While some students enjoy the luxury of considering multiple universities locally and nationally, a great many from the Bay Area rely on SF State as their one chance to secure a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. Donors at all levels consistently describe how their support of SF State makes a more pronounced and measurable impact compared with donations to larger universities, public or private, which have longstanding fundraising programs and enormous administrative budgets. In short, a gift to SF State will result in exponentially greater returns in social, intellectual, and economic vitality.


Will my donation make a difference?

To give you an example of how every gift makes a difference consider that our Annual Fund includes many gifts of $100 or less, yet in the aggregate they amount to nearly $700,000 a year in discretionary funds that the University’s leadership can direct toward areas of greatest need – often scholarships, new equipment, and academic resources.