Celebrating 50 years of the TU Foundation

September 15, 2020

TU philanthropy arm hits milestone in supporting campus community


The difference the Towson University Foundation has made in its 50 years of existence is difficult to overstate. In the last 20 years alone, almost 12,000 Towson University students have received scholarships totaling more than $17 million from the TU Foundation.

In just the first nine months of this year, the Foundation awarded nearly $1.9 million in scholarships to nearly 1,000 students.

“Celebrating the 50-year milestone of the TU Foundation is extraordinary. As an advocate for the university, the foundation’s careful and strategic stewardship of donor dollars and partnership with university leadership has further fueled our institution’s momentum,” TU President Kim Schatzel said.

Since the TUF was established on Aug. 2, 1970 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, the last 50 years have brought extraordinary growth and prosperity to Towson University and its students, many of whom are first-generation college students.

TU has been making a difference in the lives of its diverse student body, and has recently been praised by Washington Monthly and U.S. News & World Report for its work in social mobility.

Supporting the university community in an ever-changing higher education landscape is one of the primary goals of the foundation.

In 2018, the foundation created the TUF Grant Program. Over the last two years, $200,000 has been awarded to nine worthy programs that represent every college at TU. The TUF Grant Program takes the foundation’s philanthropic efforts to the next level.

One program that received a grant award is The College Readiness Outreach Program (CROP), which sends Towson University students to four Baltimore City high schools to talk to ninth-graders about finances, career exploration, success, college life, diversity and other important life topics. CROP is about more than saying, “go to college.” It’s about understanding what life is like after high school. No other Maryland university provides this type of program.

The partnership between the TUF and the Towson University Investment Group, a student-run organization that actively manages an international equity fund on behalf of the TU Foundation, further demonstrates the value the foundation places on real-world learning opportunities. Investment group members work with faculty advisers and apply classroom concepts to the foundation’s investment management situations.

“It’s a win-win-win for TU—for students who benefit from the experiences, for faculty since the grants attract more phenomenal educators to TU and for communities that benefit from the outstanding work of our students, faculty and staff,” says Kim Fabian ’88, development chair for the foundation.

Foundation president J. William Murray agrees. “Our foundation has a rich history of supporting and fulfilling the needs of TU students. The endowment is performing as well today as it ever has, and the foundation is in an excellent position to support the future growth of Towson University, its programs and the students it serves.”

During 2020, the TU Foundation embarked on a strategic planning process for the next 50 years. As part of that plan, TUF is pleased to announce the launch of the 50th Anniversary Campaign in support of the Foundation Scholars Endowment and the TU Foundation Grant Program.

In the last 20 years, the endowment grew from $11.27 million to more than $71.30 million. In just the last 10 years, the TUF achieved an overall investment return of 7.1%, outperforming, on average, the returns of 774 colleges and universities in its National Association Of College And University Business Officers (NACUBO) peer group.

“The campaign will enhance much-needed scholarship funding for current and future students and also ensure the long-term viability of financial support for innovative experiential learning and engagement opportunities,” says Brian DeFilippis, the Towson University Foundation executive vice president.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland, Diverse and Inclusive Campus and Culture of Philanthropy.