NDSU Foundation reports historic fundraising year

FARGO, N.D., — Building on achievements of the previous three years, philanthropy through the North Dakota State University Foundation reached an unprecedented milestone in 2019, recording more than $160 million in new gifts and commitments.

Fueled by the public launch of In Our Hands: The Campaign for North Dakota State University, the Foundation bested its previous high of $59.9 million set in 2017. The new support included more than $37 million in cash gifts and more than $56.6 million in pledge commitments, benefiting every area of campus. Other philanthropic support included more than $62 million in deferred gifts and more than $5.2 million in gifts in kind.

In October, the university publicly launched In Our Hands, a $400 million comprehensive campaign to support and enhance the student experience. This is the largest fundraising effort in North Dakota higher education history. The campaign’s advanced gift phase began Jan. 1, 2016. As of Dec. 31, 2019, the campaign raised more than $352.7 million, putting the campaign’s completion two years ahead of schedule. The campaign counts all gifts and commitments received through the NDSU Foundation and Team Makers, the annual fundraising organization for NDSU athletics.

“I am gratified by the incredible generosity of our donors and their commitment to help transform the lives of our students,” NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani said. “I very much appreciate that our donors believe in the mission of North Dakota State University — to improve the lives of students and citizens across the state, region and nation. The success of the In Our Hands campaign is extremely exciting.” More than 11,000 benefactors have contributed to the campaign since the start of the advanced gifts phase.

“It’s exciting that we’ve engaged a broad spectrum of people and a lot of the people who’ve been very successful appreciate what NDSU did for them early on with their education and their career and have given back in a very big way,” Mike Krueger ’71, chair of the NDSU Foundation’s executive governing board, said. “The size of In Our Hands and its success means students, for a long, long time, are going to be feeling the benefits of this campaign.”

In Our Hands campaign co-chairs Robert ’67 and Sheila Challey announced a leadership gift of $75 million at the public launch event. The commitment includes a number of projects, such as the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth, scholarship and faculty support for the Challey School of Music and future projects to be determined.

In Our Hands campaign co-chairs Steve ’78 and Mary Anne ’77 Swiontek have also provided significant support to NDSU, and they helped to facilitate Gate City Bank’s unique low-interest financial gift to support Aldevron Tower, valued at more than $2.5 million.

“The Challeys’ and Swionteks’ support has catalyzed this campaign to another level,” John R. Glover, president and CEO of the NDSU Foundation, said. “We are grateful for their tremendous support and how they all continue to inspire others to get involved.”

The Foundation’s endowment, which ensures a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding, is also growing dramatically. As of Dec. 31, 2019, the endowment value was more than $248 million, increasing more than $41 million from the prior year. The endowment has been fueled by new gifts and strong returns over the past four years, nearly doubling in value ($134 million as of Dec. 31, 2015).

In 2019, the Foundation transferred more than $25.4 million to campus, an increase of more than $11 million from 2018. The transferred funds, comprised of spendable endowment earnings and expendable funds, included more than $5.9 million for student scholarships, $1.8 million to support faculty, $1.7 in support of programs and $16 million for facilities.

In January 2020, students, faculty, and staff from NDSU’s College of Health Professions moved into Aldevron Tower, a 74,000-square foot, $28 million all-privately financed addition to Sudro Hall. This facility will revolutionize the way health professionals are educated and trained at NDSU by providing team-based care teaching in state-of-the-art facilities. The official building dedication is scheduled for May 1, 2020.

Philanthropic support through the Foundation during the past five years is below:
2019: $160.3 million
2018: $48.2 million
2017: $59.9 million
2016: $52.3 million
2015: $28.6 million

Below are the Foundation endowment numbers for the past five years:
2019: $248.3 million
2018: $207.1 million
2017: $201.6 million
2016: $166.1 million
2015: $134 million

ABOUT In Our Hands: The Campaign for North Dakota State University

In Our Hands is a multi-year $400 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to lift up all of North Dakota State University. To find out more about the NDSU students and faculty impacted by philanthropy through this campaign, visit InOurHandsNDSU.com.


The NDSU Foundation builds enduring relationships that maximize advocacy and philanthropy to support North Dakota State University.


Nicole Thom-Arens
Director of Communications
(701) 231-6800 | 800-279-8971