National University Matches Anonymous $20 Million Gift With an Additional $10 Million

Funding will support rollout of programs supporting PreK-12 student learning and development

National University has announced an anonymous $20 million gift for the national expansion of the Sanford Education Programs. It is  the largest contribution ever received by the University in its 44-year history.

The gift, combined with a 50 percent matching contribution from National University, raises the total amount dedicated to initiatives supporting PreK-12 student learning and development to $30 million.

The $30 million is on top of initial donations of $10 million from last year that provided seed money to establish the expansion of initiatives that are administered through the Sanford Education Center at National University.

The Center’s initiatives include the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, dedicated to increasing the fundraising capacity of nonprofits, as well as the national expansion of two education programs, Sanford Harmony (PreK-6) and Sanford Inspire (PreK-12).

“We are so grateful for this historic gift, which together with previous gifts is creating a truly transformative effect for children and teachers in our schools and classrooms,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University and Chancellor of the National University System. “We are honored to carry out the vision of Denny Sanford, whose impact on society will last for generations.”

The $30 million is focused on two of the initiatives, the research-based Sanford Education Programs that are available at no cost to schools and districts. They are now being rapidly expanded nationally through the leadership of National University and its Sanford Education Center (Click here to read an accompanying article).

The Sanford Harmony program strengthens social and emotional development among PreK-6 children. Initially developed by Arizona State University (ASU), teachers and researchers have found the program provides a universal foundation for positive peer relations among boys and girls, students of different cultural/racial backgrounds, and children who have special needs.

In fact, Initial findings by ASU indicate improved academic performance in math and reading, a more positive attitude towards school, and increased empathy among children. The findings also identified reductions in gender stereotyping and classroom aggression.

Sanford Inspire (PreK-12) recognizes that inspirational teaching is critical to student success: every child should have not one, but many inspiring teachers. Through its no-cost online learning modules and curriculum resources, Sanford Inspire provides educators with access to research-based teaching methodologies and approaches designed to create inspiring classroom experiences.

Also initially developed by ASU, the resources provided through Sanford Inspire can be used by in-service teachers and educators, and integrated into teacher education programs. Sanford Inspire also provides a framework for the ongoing assessment and sharing of inspiring teaching methodologies through a research component that builds on its initial foundations to identify, codify, and share inspiring teaching strategies on a national scale.

National University’s Sanford Education Programs are estimated to serve more than 50,000 teachers, and as a result, impact more than 650,000 Pre-K through 12th grade students by their fifth year of operation.

The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, also part of the Center, is dedicated to increasing the fundraising capacity of nonprofits and cause organizations so that they can maximize their impact on the public good. The Institute offers seminars, certificates and a master’s program, with curriculum developed by University’s School of Business and Management and Division of Extended Learning. The programs offered through the Institute address critical needs in the nonprofit sector with a focus on cause sales, cause leadership, and donor relations.