Published: Aug. 1, 2018

Scripps fellow wearing augmented reality goggles

Former Scripps fellow Amy Martin at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory using virtual reality glasses as part of a scientific visualization project. (Courtesy: Center for Environmental Journalism)

CU Boulder donors supported students, high-impact research and top-notch facilities in a big way, making gifts totaling more than $147.8 million in the 2017–18 fiscal year, according to the latest advancement figures.

This total represents a record level of philanthropic investment for the Boulder campus, and is a sizable part of the breadth of contributions that came into the four-campus University of Colorado system.

Early returns on the 2017-18 fiscal year indicate the Boulder campus saw major gifts of $250,000 to $999,999 increase by 46.7 percent. In addition, the campus saw significant progress in endowment giving in dollars raised and gifts made, including a 150 percent increase in giving to faculty chairs.

Endowment giving continued to carry the torch for scholarship giving across the CU system. Contributions were also made in support of specific projects through CU Boulder’s crowdfunding platform

“We are grateful to our donors who care deeply about the exceptional teaching and research that happens here,” said Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “Their generosity helps our students become tomorrow’s leaders, supports innovation and our efforts to positively impact humanity.”

Examples of the impact of private support at CU Boulder during this past fiscal year include:

Environmental journalism

  • A $2.47 million gift commitment from Cindy Scripps through the Scripps Howard Foundation will build on the successes of the Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism at the College of Media, Communication and Information and ensure the competitiveness and visibility of the program moving forward. The Scripps Fellowships give five exceptional journalists an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of environmental issues and report on topics of their choosing during a nine-month residency. The program is run by CMCI’s Center for Environmental Journalism. This gift will allow for a 25 percent stipend increase, investment in new technology of benefit to the fellows as well as students, and an opportunity for CMCI students to be involved with the Scripps Fellows' work as research assistants.

Business and engineering 

  • In support of a building expansion and enhanced collaboration between CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and College of Engineering and Applied Science, CU Foundation Trustee Alan Olson (Fin’62) and his wife Carol Ann (Soc’64) gave a $1 million gift that will name the entrance space of the new building. Also in support of the expansion, founder and CEO of Zayo Dan Caruso and his wife Cindy gave $2 million to support entrepreneurial activities and the future building connection. The expansion will offer collaborative spaces to expand experiential learning opportunities.
  • A philanthropic investment of $2.25 million from Boulder donors Chuck Bellock and his wife Madeleine Morrison will support the success of underrepresented Colorado undergraduate students at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. Their gift, the Community Development Group Student Support Funds, will specifically focus on students from the towns of Erie, Frederick, Dacono and Broomfield. It provides support through scholarship, programming and emergency relief funding.

Support for veterans

  • With a gift of $210,000, CU Foundation Trustee Barry Baer and his wife Sue have established an endowed scholarship for CU Boulder Army ROTC students, along with a testamentary gift agreement that will support veteran scholarships through the Office of Veteran Services at CU Boulder.

Help for student parents

  • CU Boulder alumni and competitive runners Sara (Psych’09) and Brent (ApMath’08) Vaughn established the Vaughn Family Endowed Child Care Scholarship Fund to help fill the financial assistance gap that exists for student-parents. The Vaughns have both competed professionally in running and now wish to help other student-parents realize their dreams. Their gift includes $10,000 in funding for the next five years, half of which will be for current student use and the other half for an endowment. They hope that others will contribute to the fund and that it will raise much-needed awareness and money for college student-parents.  

The gifts follow a line of philanthropy at CU Boulder that began with the campus’s founding, when early supporters donated money, land and a passion for education to start a university in Boulder in 1876.