What does one do with an unexpected gift of $40 million?
Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee found himself asking that very question this summer when philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, surprised the university with such a gift.
After the initial shock wore off, Virjee and his cabinet got to work meeting with a variety of campus stakeholders — staff, faculty, alumni, donors and the philanthropic board — to decide how to best use the legacy gift.
“The overwhelming takeaway was that the goal should be to leverage the impact of this gift so that it impacts generations of Titans,” Virjee explained.
The decision-makers placed significant focus on Scott’s expressed motivation for the gift: supporting programs that lift up and successfully educate those from communities that have been chronically underserved. They also sought to align the allocation with the university’s strategic plan and social justice principles while balancing the institution’s current and future needs.
At the 2021 Convocation and State of the University, Virjee announced the apportionment of the funding, raised the “It Takes a Titan” campaign goal to $250 million and outlined how a newly established matching gift program would help achieve the revised campaign target.
Allocation of the Scott-Jewett Gift
$15 million — To create the MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewett Endowed Fund for Excellence
This endowment will provide annual funding that allows campus leadership to take advantage of opportunities that support the mission of CSUF.
$5 million — To create the MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewett President’s Initiative Endowed Fund
This endowment will provide funding for unique opportunities and initiatives that support the Titan community.
$2 million — To grow diversity, equity and inclusion within the campus community
This $1 million endowment and $1 million in current-use funds will allow for immediate impact and long-term sustainability in diversity, equity and inclusion work.
$2 million — To further develop the academic offerings at CSUF
This $1 million endowment and $1 million in current-use funds will allow for immediate impact and long-term sustainability in further developing the academic offerings, including enhancing faculty-mentored undergraduate research, and recruiting and retaining diverse faculty.
$2 million — To enhance the Titan student experience at CSUF
This $1 million endowment and $1 million in current-use funds will allow for immediate impact and long-term sustainability in enhancing the Titan student experience.
$3 million — To recognize and fund extraordinary activities and programs in the CSUF community
A committee of campus stakeholders will be asked to manage an inclusive and transparent RFP process where members of the campus community can apply for funds. The goal is to fund new, innovative ideas or expand existing programs that enhance the Titan experience at CSUF. Details on the RFP process are under development and will be shared widely with the campus community once completed.
$11 million — To engage and motivate donors to support all areas of the campus community through a matching gift program
The funding will provide a 50% match for endowment and capital gifts to any area of the university. A portion also has been set aside to support smaller gifts. The goal is to compound the long-term growth and impact of the $40 million.
A New Campaign Goal and Gift Matching Program
Even before the Scott-Jewett gift, the “It Takes a Titan” campaign had achieved 90% of its $200 million goal.
“Considering our success and momentum,” Virjee exclaimed, “I am proud to now announce that we have decided to up our campaign goal to $250 million.”
The $11 million in matching funds will be instrumental in attaining the new objective. The matching program provides an opportunity for all Titans to access the Scott-Jewett gift, as match dollars will be distributed on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, and even smaller gifts made through such events as #TitansGive — the university’s annual day of giving next scheduled for March 9, 2022 — will be eligible.
For more details on the matching program or the $40 million allocation, see the FAQs on the campaign website.