Cal Poly Humboldt Sees Strong Support from Donors

CPH campus_annual giving
Over the last year, thousands of donors stepped up to support Cal Poly Humboldt students, giving $12.5 million to advance academic excellence, expand educational access, and foster innovative research and programs.

Overall, more than 5,000 donors made a gift for Cal Poly Humboldt students and programs. An influx of 2,032 first-time donors bolstered the significant growth in donors.

Also, throughout the last year, donors gave $1.7 million in endowment funds, helping the overall endowment to reach $42.3 million. These funds are meant to last in perpetuity. They are invested for the long-term, with earnings distributed each year for program support or scholarship as designated by the donor.

Additional highlights: 

  • 2,985 alumni donors
  • 11,677 total gifts received 
  • 705 student scholarship awards provided

The charitable support and growing number of donors comes as Cal Poly Humboldt has launched its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The University and the Foundation publicly unveiled "Boldly Rising: The Campaign for Cal Poly Humboldt" last October with a weeklong series of events and activities. The campaign, which has been underway for three years, aims to create more student opportunities by providing greater access, supporting hands-on learning, and promoting innovation and inclusive student success.

Boldly Rising Campaign highlights as of the end of June 2023: 

  • $40.6 million raised 
  • $13.1 million in planned gifts
  • $11.5 million given for endowed funds
  • 219 donors who have given $10,000 or more 
  • 8,087 donors overall

“The level of enthusiasm is amazing, and it’s inspiring to hear stories from individuals about why they chose to support Humboldt students and programs,” said Frank Whitlatch, executive director of the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation. “It’s clear that our alumni and other friends are excited about the direction of Cal Poly Humboldt, the transformation into a polytechnic, and the incredible progress of the Boldly Rising Campaign.”

Donors support Cal Poly Humboldt programs and students in many ways, including scholarships, equipment and technology, program support, and research funding. Their giving helps Cal Poly Humboldt offer a wider range of educational experiences and a level of excellence that would not be possible with just state support and tuition.

Some recent examples of giving to Cal Poly Humboldt:

  • A gift by Dan Phillips (‘91, Business and Computer Information Systems) two years ago helped inspire Sherman Schapiro (‘86, Environmental Systems) to create the Sherman Schapiro Eureka High School Scholarship Fund. The fund supports Eureka High School graduates like Cheyenne Ty (‘26, Computer Science) in her journey to Cal Poly Humboldt. “This lets me focus on my classes and study hard without the stress of financial instability. A Computer Science degree will allow me to have a career within the technology field, a dream I have had since I was younger,” Ty says. 
  • Thanks to Humboldt donors giving to endowments like the Gearheart Ecological Engineering Research Fund, many undergraduate and graduate students are able to obtain paid fellowships and research assistantships.
  • Donors are also helping Cal Poly Humboldt acquire cutting-edge technology. Kathleen Welsh's transformative gift of $500,000 will equip the University with an electron microscope, allowing for advanced research and hands-on experiences in biotechnology, chemistry, and biology.
  • Jennifer Keller established the Mary and Foster Keller Scholarship Endowment 12 years ago and has continued contributing to the fund, recently pledging an additional $75,000. The scholarship provides $4,000 annually for four years to students with outstanding academic merit and financial need. 
  • On the inaugural Giving Day in April, donors rallied to raise $140,638 within 24 hours, and the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation matched gifts of up to $1,000. Donors gave to 112 campus clubs, programs, departments, and scholarships. In total, 1,003 donors made a gift, including students, alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and staff. 

To learn more about how you can support Humboldt students, contact the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation today at (707) 826-5200 or