About the Foundation
The Ohio State University Foundation is the university’s primary fundraising and gift-receiving organization. It was founded in 1985 as a non-profit, tax exempt organization that advances the mission of Ohio State by pursuing and securing private support to benefit Ohio State students, faculty, programs, and/or facilities.
The Ohio State University enjoys a robust history of private support from its alumni and friends. The fundraising results of almost three decades, combined with an understanding of the environment in which those results were achieved, provide the context and background from which the current operation, staffing model, strategic direction, and opportunities flow.
The first focused campaign at Ohio State raised approximately $1 million to help build Ohio Stadium, which was dedicated in 1922. Fundraising was institutionalized 15 years later when the Board of Trustees created the Development Fund. In the fund’s first full year, more than 3,300 donors gave the university almost $82,000. In 1985, Ohio State announced its first major comprehensive campaign, with a goal of $350 million. The campaign successfully closed in 1990 with gifts and pledges over $460 million.
In 1995, the university publicly launched its second major fundraising campaign with a goal of $850 million. Named “Affirm Thy Friendship” from a line in the alma mater, "Carmen Ohio," the campaign goal was later raised to $1 billion. When the campaign ended in 2000, the university had raised $1.23 billion, making Ohio State one of only five public universities at that time to have exceeded the billion-dollar mark. Total gift receipts raised during “Affirm Thy Friendship” exceeded all gifts received during the previous 123 years of the university’s existence.
On October 4, 2012, the university launched the But for Ohio State campaign, a $2.5 billion fundraising endeavor that is the largest campaign in Ohio State’s history. More than 400,000 alumni and friends have contributed to the campaign so far. The campaign will allow Ohio State to implement visionary new ideas for the student experience and to use our breadth of disciplines to tackle complex global problems related to food production and security, health and wellness, and energy and the environment.
Given the rising cost of academic excellence and the decline in state support of college and university budgets, private support will be critical to higher education in the 21st century. Ohio State is no exception, as the State of Ohio is allocating only 8 percent of its annual budget to higher education, which is attributable in part to a decrease in federal funding.
Ohio State’s Foundation Board of Directors will be asked to play an increasingly important role in helping to shape the future of the institution.