American University gate on sunny day.

Working Together Toward AU's Future

The American University community is known for vision, generosity, and teamwork—and nowhere is that more apparent or vital than in our donors’ response to annual giving. 

Annual gifts touch all aspects of life at AU. The Fund for Excellence supports financial aid, student life activities, campus operations, faculty development, new technology, and more—programs that directly impact every student on campus. The AU Fund for Student Support assists students directly, opening doors for experiential learning opportunities, subsidizing textbooks, or enabling student to research or intern. By pooling gifts of all sizes, donors have a transformative impact on student lives and the future of AU.

Student working on his laptop inside his on-campus residence.

“From the moment I got my acceptance letter, generosity has defined my time at AU,” said Alyssa, SPA/BA '20. “My single father had lost his job. I was afraid that money would be a barrier between me and the school of my dreams. When I received my financial aid package, all that weight was lifted.” Whether it was providing living expenses to underwrite an internship in public service or covering the cost of competing for the mock trial team, financial support allowed Alyssa to take full advantage of AU's unique learning opportunities.

Campaign Highlights
raised for unrestricted support in FY20
given in FY20 unrestricted support
raised through 2020 Founders Day Challenge

Unrestricted support is also critical when the community faces an urgent and unforeseen need. When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, Eagles far and wide came together to create the Student Emergency Relief Fund (SERF). Through SERF donations, the university helped students cover travel costs to safely depart campus and worked with more than 60 students who remained on campus in emergency housing. SERF also helped supplement meal plans and upgrade internet connections for remote learners.

“The support from our community has helped our students feel cared for, seen, and valued,” said Fanta Aw, AU’s vice president of campus life and inclusive excellence. “The impact has been felt by so many.”

The collective impact of annual giving means every donor plays an important role in sustaining and strengthening AU. "It is vital for us to have the flexibility to address emerging needs and opportunities as they arise," said Casey Jacobs, director of development, annual giving. "Annual giving is the backbone of the institution."