Testimonial from Cameron Adams about eye-opening study abroad experience in IrelandThe Iowa State University Foundation is the private gift fundraising arm for Iowa State University. As part of this partnership, the foundation has development staff housed in each of the colleges to raise funds that meet the needs of each.

The CALS Development Office

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Development Office has a demonstrated history of responding to college priorities through private gift support initiatives. The college’s fundraising effort is led by five development officers and three support staff. The CALS Development Office works hand-in-hand with college leadership in a uniquely immersive way. Development officers have close working relationships with the dean, administrators and faculty and staff across all departments and in all phases of cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of current and prospective donors. This donor-centered approach is made possible because of the culture of philanthropy that is promoted and demonstrated through action by college leadership at all levels.

As a result of this partnership, the college has seen annual fundraising grow from $5 million in fiscal year 2002 to surpassing $20 million each of the past five fiscal years—in fiscal year 2018, the annual total was $35 million.


The CALS Development Office engages closely with key Iowa stakeholders important to the college, including the leaders of state commodity groups, cooperatives, agricultural organizations, industry and others. Although many donors and stakeholders are alumni, during the most recent fundraising campaign, nearly 50 percent of the college’s fundraising has come from non-alumni or industry gifts. The CALS Development Office focuses much of its attention on Iowa and the Midwest, as more than half of the college’s 49,000 alumni live in Iowa and more than 70 percent live in contiguous states. However, CALS development officers also travel regularly to states in the Midwest, Eastern Seaboard, Texas, Florida and Arizona to engage with alumni and stakeholders. The CALS development office also reaches additional donors through the ISU Foundation offices of Corporate Relations and Planned Giving, and through regional fundraisers.

Forever True For Iowa State Campaign

In June 2021, the university expects to celebrate the successful conclusion of an nine-year fundraising campaign, Forever True, For Iowa State, with a goal of raising $1.5 billion in private support for university-wide priorities. The goal of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is to raise $230 million as part of the campaign. The college defined six key fundraising themes that will transform and strengthen the college into the future:

  • student and faculty enrichment
  • global agriculture
  • biosciences
  • sustainability
  • agricultural business and entrepreneurship
  • capital projects to build innovative facilities that support animal agriculture teaching, research, extension and outreach.


Biorenewables ComplexPrivate support is crucial to advancing the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and benefits the college’s students, faculty and staff. Examples of the impacts of philanthropy in action in the college include:

  • $4 million in scholarships awarded annually to CALS students
  • More than 50 named faculty positions in teaching, research and extension
  • Support for ongoing dean and departmental initiatives
  • Privately supported research and program funds
  • Establishment and ongoing budgetary support for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Establishment and ongoing budgetary support for the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and the EARTH Service Learning Program
  • Capital projects made possible through philanthropy:
    • Renovated Curtiss Hall, historic home of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ($9 million of $16 million total funded privately)
    • Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, with an arena that seats more than 800 people ($7.5 million, fully funded privately)
    • Biorenewables Complex, including two adjoining buildings for offices and laboratories to house the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering—Elings Hall, Sukup Hall and the Sukup Atrium ($15 million of $75 million total funded privately)
    • Kent Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex ($24 million project expected completion Fall 2021)
    • Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Farm and the Turkey Teaching and Research Facility ($9.2 million project)