Kent State Achieves Unprecedented Fundraising Success During First Year of Forever Brighter Campaign

Record-breaking fundraising year for university includes two largest gifts in Kent State history

Kent State University launched the public phase of its $350 million Forever Brighter comprehensive fundraising campaign in October 2021, and during the first year of the public campaign, a record-breaking $77.6 million was raised. This philanthropic feat was made possible with the support of 10,687 donors, 3,753 of whom made a gift to Kent State for the first time. The gifts will support university programs and its students through scholarships, capital projects, and new academic programs and initiatives. Within these areas are specific projects, programs and initiatives to enhance student experiences and elevate Kent State’s reputation as a leader in student support, athletics, research and innovation. 

“I can’t express how moved I am by the generosity of our incredible donors,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said. “Not only did we receive the two largest gifts in Kent State history, but more than 10,000 donors contributed to our students’ success this year – and the commitment our supporters show for our students and the future of the university is certainly something to celebrate.”

Kent State received its largest single gift of $10 million from The Podiatry Foundation to support the College of Podiatric Medicine during the 2021 Fall Semester, and within one month, a significantly larger gift was also announced. The now largest single gift in university history made by Ambassador Edward F. Crawford and family enabled construction for the new Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship building, named Crawford Hall. Additionally, Kent State received 10 gifts of $1 million or more. 

Kent State’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics also achieved an unprecedented level of fundraising success during Fiscal Year 2022. With more than 2,300 donors and more than $3.6 million raised, this record-breaking support offers scholarship assistance to more than 400 student-athletes. Kent State Athletics also secured six philanthropic gifts to name athletics facilities across the Kent Campus. 

The 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign was a driving force in Kent State’s philanthropic success this past fiscal year, bringing in $7.7 million. The university has been participating in Giving Tuesday, a global fundraising movement, for the past seven years, and in that time, it has been coined Kent State’s most generous annual tradition. Each year, donors await special giving incentives announced each Tuesday in November for opportunities to make the impact of their gift go further. 

When the public phase of the Forever Brighter campaign launched in October 2021, 75% of the total goal was met. Just eight months later, Kent State ended the fiscal year having achieved 94% of its $350 million campaign goal, with the university’s students at the heart of this philanthropic success. 

“Raising scholarship support is a top priority of the Forever Brighter campaign,” said Valoree Vargo, Kent State’s vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement and CEO of the Kent State University Foundation. “It is essential for students who require financial support to stay enrolled and on track to graduation, as well as recognition for outstanding academic performance. Our students are the best and brightest, and scholarships ensure they can pursue their passions and dreams while at Kent State – and for years to come.”  

To learn more about Kent State’s Forever Brighter comprehensive fundraising campaign, visit

About Kent State University

Kent State University is the highest-ranked public university in northern Ohio on the Top Public Schools and Best National Universities lists by U.S. News & World Report. Kent State also holds the esteemed distinction of being one of only five institutions in Ohio to be recognized as a top-tier research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With eight campuses spanning Northeast Ohio, a College of Podiatric Medicine, a Twinsburg Academic Center and academic sites in major world cities, such as New York City, Geneva and Florence, Kent State is one of Ohio’s leading public universities and a major educational, economic and cultural resource far beyond the Northeast Ohio region it has served since 1910. Kent State is a national leader in award-winning student support services to graduate students. The student body comprises about 35,000 students, including 1,370 international students from nearly 100 countries, and the worldwide alumni family exceeds 268,000. The addition of new learning environments from the sciences to the arts and the development of exciting new academic programs characterize Kent State’s focus on transformational educational experiences. 
For more information about Kent State, visit

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Media Contact:
Leigh Greenfelder,, 330-672-7108

POSTED: Thursday, September 01, 2022 09:19 AM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2023 11:45 PM
Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement