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The Grand Valley University Foundation was chartered in 1965 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its purpose is to provide support for Grand Valley State University to assist in its goals and mission. This support provides student grants and scholarships, faculty and academic program development, capital maintenance and growth, and long-term fiscal security for the university.

The foundation is the umbrella organization and recognition society for all who give to the university through annual giving, capital campaigns, special giving or planned giving. The foundation also hosts special events for donors and friends, including the black-tie Enrichment Dinner, a tradition since 1976.


Grand Valley has a deeply rooted culture of giving. To understand this culture it is helpful to understand how the university was established... by a 37 year-old man and a community with high hopes.

  • High Hopes
    • L. William Seidman was a Grand Rapids businessman and the widely recognized founder of Grand Valley State University. Seidman, in the late 1950s, had the somewhat radical idea to establish an independent, state-supported, four-year institution of higher education in West Michigan. He led the movement to gain community support for the university.
       
  • The Million Dollar Challenge
    • When the bill proposing the new college was finally passed it contained several significant amendments. Most important was the requirement that before the college could receive a charter, the Board of Control must raise $1 million, comparable to $10-15 million today, without public taxation.
    • Grand Valley’s founders began the largest capital fundraising effort ever undertaken in West Michigan. Thanks to their dedicated efforts Grand Valley State College opened its doors to students in 1963.

Learn more about the GVU Foundation's history.

Gifts to the Grand Valley University Foundation are tax-deductible as permitted by law. All gifts to the foundation are held at the foundation or transferred to Grand Valley State University for the purpose intended by the donor.

A copy of the foundation's IRS 990 Form is available at Guidestar, a website that provides information about nonprofits across the United States.

Access the Annual Report online.

Gifts to the Grand Valley University Foundation are tax-deductible as permitted by law. All gifts to the foundation are held at the foundation or transferred to Grand Valley State University for the purpose intended by the donor. The foundation functions as a supporting organization for Grand Valley State University through a management agreement. The agreement provides administrative functions such as publications, hosting the foundation's website, events, and other services.

Should I give to the foundation or to the university?

Whether you choose to do your giving directly to the university or through the foundation, the end results are the same—you benefit the students that Grand Valley State University provides to West Michigan. All gifts are used to directly benefit the university.

For more information, please contact us by calling (616) 331-6000 or by emailing gvufound@gvsu.edu.