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Donors change lives.

With JMU on the national stage, resources for our faculty and students are more important than ever. Even as JMU’s reputation for research is growing nationally, your gift helps ensconce the teacher-scholar model Madison has always been known for. Gifts to the university ensure that professors can teach, mentor and conduct research — and that students can participate in that research.

Today JMU competes for students with the best flagship universities and nationally known private colleges. But our academic reputation and student experience have outpaced our resources, so we lose many aspiring Dukes to our competitors who can offer scholarships to recognize student achievement and bridge the opportunity gap. Your gift for scholarships will make it possible for more future Dukes to attend JMU. 

By making your gift to a priority fund or to another area you are passionate about, you play an essential role in delivering the best possible Madison Experience. Any choice makes a profound difference, because all gifts, taken together, add up to ensure that students have the resources they need and the Madison Experience they deserve.

Your gift — of any size — is helpful. When combined with gifts from other donors, the impact on the Madison Experience grows dramatically. That growth also creates momentum that encourages more alumni and friends to make a gift. So, really, the growth is exponential.

You have several options so you can choose the way that is right for you.

You sure can. Directing your giving to any area of the university that is important to you is another way to help students. When you give back to an area you love, you honor your own Madison Experience and make a difference for a student like you.

The most immediate way for you to help is to make a gift to any of JMU’s priority funds. These annual fund gifts are flexible and allow Madison to direct support where it is most needed. Annual fund gifts touch every part of the Madison Experience.

The James Madison University Foundation ensures that funds are disbursed according to your wishes and fund guidelines to support JMU students, professors, programs and facilities. When you make a gift to your department or to scholarships or to support the JMU faculty, for instance, the JMU Foundation administers your gift on behalf of Madison. So, when you give through the JMU Foundation, you are directly supporting James Madison University.

You get many opportunities to contribute because only you know when the time is right and what areas of the university are most important to you. The many people and programs of JMU provide an array of worthy options for getting involved and investing in something you are passionate about. With so many possibilities and stories to tell, we are in touch frequently to help you connect with what’s most meaningful to you.

The university needs funding from many sources to achieve its mission of preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. Although state-supported schools like JMU receive money from the commonwealth, the percentage of the university's budget from the state has decreased substantially over the years. Even with tuition dollars, existing funding doesn't cover everything. Donations from private individuals are important because they make it possible to do more for our students. A number of JMU priorities depend on these private dollars, especially academic and athletic scholarship programs. 

Tuition covers about 38% of the university’s annual operating budget. And even though we raise tuition in some years in an attempt to offset the declining percentage of funding from the state, the cost to attend JMU remains one of the lowest in the region. To keep our standards of academic excellence while maintaining an affordable price for students, we need your financial support.

Much of the money we receive from the state government is for capital projects (campus improvement), and by law those funds must be used for that purpose and no other. Construction at JMU, such as the new College of Business Learning Complex, was undertaken to keep pace with a growing student population while offering the best learning environments we can. Significantly, the commonwealth often requires projects like this to secure 50 percent participation (“matching” funds) from private donors.

In the last decade, more than 350 Dukes have been able to overcome unanticipated financial challenges, continue their studies and complete their degrees thanks to donors’ support of Madison Forever Scholarship recipients. Over the years, the scope of these scholarships broadened to provide merit-based awards, which was responsible and responsive in the time before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with Madison for Keeps emergency scholarships, we are focused on securing aid for those who have nowhere else to turn. (Madison Forever will continue to exist, but you won’t receive any more messages from us about it.) Your support of these students will be instrumental as everyone works together to navigate and then recover from the current public health crisis. 

Unleashed: The Campaign for James Madison University was JMU’s successful comprehensive fundraising campaign, which concluded in 2022 with donors contributing more than $251 million—more than $50 million over goal. You can learn more about Unleashed success here. 


JMU’s annual financial statements, which detail both revenue and expenses, are available to the public on the Office of Finance website.

To learn more about our endowment, please review the JMU Foundation website.

To see how your gift helps us build philanthropy at JMU, please see more FAQs on the university’s Gift Reinvestment Program.


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