Culture of Philanthropy

students with sign that says Thank You

Towson University will launch an ambitious and historic comprehensive campaign to support TU’s academic programs, student programming initiatives, financial aid, community engagement projects and partnerships, and faculty research, service, and creative endeavors. The campaign will occur over a period of eight years and will involve several phases.

Building a culture of philanthropy is one of eight presidential priorities that are linked to and aligned with Towson University’s strategic plan. These eight priorities will help us build a stronger foundation for Towson University’s promising future. 

Campaign Preparedness Assessment and Feasibility Study

In August 2016, Towson University and the TU Foundation issued an RFP for assistance in conducting a two-part study to prepare and plan for the university’s next comprehensive fundraising campaign. After a rigorous review of highly competitive proposals, Marts & Lundy was selected to conduct a campaign preparedness assessment and feasibility study. Below is the timeline for these phases of the campaign:

Campaign Preparedness

Timeline: November 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017


  1. Determine the capacity of the university and foundation to support the increased demands of a campaign.
  2. Gather information to drive recommendations on campaign strategy and priorities.

Campaign Preparedness Milestones

  1. Delivery of a report concerning the university’s readiness to launch a major comprehensive campaign.
  2. Development of the Campaign Prospectus, a preliminary case statement.

Campaign Feasibility Study

Timeline: February 1 – March 31, 2017

Goals and Deliverables 

  1. Conduct key constituent interviews with top-tier and prospective donors.
  2. Conduct an Online Constituent Survey with mid-tier and prospective donors.
  3. Capacity Analysis Results
  4. Delivery of a Campaign Planning Report

Campaign Feasibility Milestones

  1. Delivery of campaign planning report, which included identification of campaign goal and timeframe.
  2. Identification of leadership gift prospects and development of initial cultivation and solicitation strategies.
  3. Identification and articulation of fundraising priorities and opportunities.

Campaign Planning, Launch and Execution

Campaign Silent Phase

Timeline: August 15, 2017 – December 31, 2019

Goals and Deliverables

  1. Transform campaign prospectus into campaign case for support.
  2. Conduct wealth screening of constituent database.
  3. Recruit and train volunteer leaders for campaign committee.
  4. Solicit lead gifts for campaign.


  • Secured $46,413,012 in gifts and commitments towards the campaign total (as of February 10, 2020), which represents 46.4% of the campaign goal of $100,000,000.
  • Secured a record $14,085,220 in gifts and commitments during FY 2019, which represents a 35.4% increase over the FY 2018 fundraising result.
  • Secured $5,328,290 in gifts and commitments year-to-date in FY 2020 towards a goal of $12,000,000.
  • Successfully recruited Karen and John (TU ’62) Schuerholz to serve as honorary chairs and members of the Campaign Executive Committee.
  • Successfully recruited Nancy Grasmick (TU ’61) and Francis Soistman, Jr. (TU ’79) as co-chairs of the comprehensive campaign and members of the Campaign Executive Committee.
  • Successfully recruited ten (10) alumni and friends to serve as members of the Campaign Executive Committee, which will lead the university during the campaign period.
  • Hired Ashton Design to develop a campaign brand, narrative and communications plan for the comprehensive campaign.
  • Finalized campaign brand and campaign narrative.
  • Recruiting volunteers for college- and project-specific campaign initiatives.

Campaign Silent Phase Milestones

  1. Finalize campaign case for support
  2. Recruitment of Campaign Executive Committee
  3. Secure lead gift commitments totaling $25 million 

Campaign Launch and Public Phase

Timeline: January 1, 2019 – June 30, 2022

Goals and Deliverables

  1. Plan and execute public campaign launch.
  2. Announce campaign goal.
  3. Feature and celebrate leadership donors.
  4. Solicit leadership, major and annual fund gifts.


  • Engaging deans and faculty/staff in each college, to identify the most important and compelling fundraising projects (existing or new) and develop messaging to persuade both current and prospective donors to invest.
  • Developing campaign website and video to launch in conjunction with official campaign launch in September 2020.
  • Developing plans for an internal campaign launch (in advance of the public launch) to inform and excite the faculty, staff and students who will benefit from philanthropic dollars secured in the campaign.
  • Developing plans for a public campaign launch event on September 24, 2020, to announce the campaign goal, progress towards the goal, honor lead donors, and encourage new prospects to contribute.

Campaign Launch and Public Phase Milestones

  1. Host campaign launch event.
  2. Secure funding for campaign priorities.
  3. Establish a new baseline for private support at TU.