MTSU growing donor support leads to record fundrai...

MTSU growing donor support leads to record fundraising year for 2022-23

Middle Tennessee State University followed up a record year of fundraising a year ago with growing donor support, securing a new record of just over $18.2 million in private donations to support the university’s educational mission.

Joe Bales, vice president for university advancement, said the total to close out the fiscal year June 30 was an increase of $1 million from the previous year, a feat made more impressive by the economic uncertainties surrounding inflationary worries throughout the past year.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president
Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

“I continue to be amazed and greatly appreciative of the continued financial support for our institution from our thousands of alumni around the world, our host of community and industry partners and the many friends of the university who value our contributions to this great community,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said. “They epitomize what it means to be True Blue, and their generosity is critical to the success of the generations of Blue Raider scholars to come.”

Bales reiterated the growing importance of private donor support for public higher education institutions as state funds have tightened over the years, a reality that prompts him and his team of development directors to work hard at securing financial support such as the state’s now required matching funds for new building construction.

Joe Bales, MTSU vice president for university advancement
Joe Bales

“Last year, we were extremely fortunate that our Build Blue campaign for athletics created a lot of excitement and gave us a record-breaking year,” Bales said. “This year, exciting new opportunities in some of our academic programs, led by our College of Media and Entertainment, have created a lot of energy around what we’re doing on the academic side of the house. We had a number of our academic programs that had record fundraising years.

“I think over the last couple of years we’ve seen a wonderful balance of interest and excitement regarding both our athletic program last year and our academic programs this year, which has really propelled us to a new level of fundraising.”

However, Bales noted the challenges that still face higher education fundraising as growing use of online courses and degree programs produces a less direct connection and engagement to the physical campus and the unique experience it entails.

“And so one of the challenges we have, both through our fundraising program and through our alumni program, is finding ways to keep people engaged and give them experiences beyond just what they might get in an online class. …

“The fact that we’ve been up back to back years with two record-breaking years, I think says a lot about how our alums perceive this institution, and what they see is the value that we’re providing to our students and to the community at large.”

Bales said no gift to the university is too small and encouraged potential donors to find an aspect of the university that they’re passionate about and direct their dollars there.

In addition to the $18.2 million in “real dollars” donated this past year, Bales said another $16.5 million was pledged in longer-term gifts through such methods as wills and estate planning, plus another $1.5 million worth of nondeductible gifts from private industry for software use or technology access.

“MTSU probably is more representative of our state’s population than any school in Tennessee, whether that’s socioeconomic status, demographics, geographic, whatever you want to look at,” he said.

“We have students that come in here with a variety of unique needs and circumstances. Financial aid and program support really do help these students fulfill their dreams of getting a college education, so every gift is important, and every gift has value.”

For more information about the MTSU Development Office, visit

— Jimmy Hart (

Employee account created by LAM on 5/8/12 (PZRNFAC report)