By Jeff Wilson
The SIU Foundation has been a cornerstone of SIU for more than half of the university’s existence.
For 75 years, the foundation has played a vital role in SIU’s expansion and development. Students, faculty, staff and the community have benefited from its philanthropic mission.
Starting with a $10 gift in 1942, the foundation has evolved in the way it serves the university. From land acquisition to endowments to rare book collections and beyond, the goal has always been the same: Help keep SIU moving forward.
In the early going, the foundation collected relatively few monetary donations. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the foundation cemented itself as the driving force behind the university’s fundraising efforts.
“The warmth generated by good ideas from good people for good causes quickly melts away all barriers and leads to inevitable success,” said SIU President Delyte Morris on March 12, 1960, the date of the university’s first Foundation Day.
During Morris’ tenure (1948-70), the university saw unparalleled expansion in terms of enrollment and physical presence. SIU grew from a teachers’ college serving a few thousand students to a three-campus system with tens of thousands of students.
The foundation’s impact also expanded during this time of prosperity.
As new buildings popped up around the Carbondale campus, the foundation played a role in establishing the Edwardsville campus and the School of Medicine in Springfield. Meanwhile, the foundation increased the value of its assets. The SIU Foundation currently supports the Carbondale campus and the School of Medicine. SIU Edwardsville has its own, separate foundation.
By 1967, the foundation’s assets were valued at more than $3 million. In 1971, the foundation gained more than $1 million in a single year. In 1974, the foundation began the Living Endowment campaign, which was the university’s first long-term fundraising event. It proved to be a success, raising more than $2 million in monetary and other gifts. In 1989, the foundation helped the College of Business and Administration raise $4 million during a yearlong campaign.
The efficacy of the foundation has allowed the numbers to rise continually – which, in turn, has led to expanded influence on campus.
In 2016, the foundation awarded 1,565 students more than $2.8 million in scholarship money. More than $2.3 million was earmarked for university and community programs. Nearly $2 million was designated for academic and research support.
On March 1, 2017, the foundation hosted the inaugural SIU Day of Giving. It was the university’s first 24-hour online fundraising campaign. After receiving 1,334 gifts totaling $341,121, excitement already is building for 2018’s Day of Giving, scheduled for March 7.
From the beginning, SIU has been a place of opportunity. It has been a place to learn, teach, grow and enrich. For the past 75 years, the SIU Foundation has led the charge.
This spring, the foundation continued that mission by announcing “Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students.” Over a three-year period, the campaign aims to bring at least $75 million to the students of SIU Carbondale. Campaign co-chairs Dan Korte ’85 and Camelle Logan ’89 have announced that the campaign already has raised $33 million toward that goal.
Donors may give to any number of worthy causes, ranging from scholarships to particular projects, and to colleges or other departments. For more information, visit www.foreversiu.org.