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A Year of Change: Elevating, Inspiring, and Leading with Impact 

At 12:30 pm on May 12, 2021, over 1,200 members of the American University community gathered virtually for an important live announcement—the launch of Change Can’t Wait: The Campaign for American University. Momentum for the campaign quickly grew. Over the next 24 hours, the announcement received nearly 20,000 views. 

A year since its launch, Change Can’t Wait has now raised over $335 million towards its historic $500 million goal, supporting the university’s Changemakers for a Changing World strategic plan and empowering AU to take on society’s most complex challenges. The campaign creates transformative educational opportunities for students, advances research with impact, and builds stronger communities locally, nationally, and globally.  

American University alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends have enthusiastically responded to this call with extraordinary commitments of time and resources. 


Change Can’t Wait is removing economic hurdles and eliminating student debt through increased financial aid, scholarships, and support for AU’s equity-based funds, giving way to more critical funding for students with wide-ranging experiences and backgrounds. Through the campaign we’ve passed new milestones including: 

  • Creation of over 100 new scholarships

  • Increased giving to equity-based funds by an average of 68 percent annually 


AU faculty are fundamental to generating knowledge that advances society. They address urgent challenges and guide the next generation of changemakers. Since the launch of Change Can’t Wait, we advanced AU scholar-teachers through:  


Change Can’t Wait strengthens communities by cultivating partnerships, building civic agency, and creating space for diversity of thought. The campaign also increases AU’s operating budget, expanding the university’s ability to create change where it’s needed most. In the past year, we: 

  • Crossed the threshold to increase annual giving by $1 million—reaching an important strategic plan milestone ahead of schedule. 

What’s Next 

The work to elevate, inspire, and lead continues with an added commitment to the student experience. Change Can’t Wait will help fuel the largest student thriving capital investment in AU history—$85 million to create an environment that supports the physical, mental, and social health of AU changemakers. 

  • This series of capital projects includes the new Center for Athletic Performance, a new student wellness extension, and renovations to the Mary Graydon Center.  

  • Early lead gifts to Change Can’t Wait kickstarted this initiative with plans for the new Center for Athletic Performance. Now, the university is making an historic investment in the project and will seek additional philanthropic support to realize this vision. An exciting announcement is coming soon! 

AU changemakers are building a stronger, more resilient world. One year has shown the AU community’s dedication to rally around the university’s call to act. Join AU’s 135,000 alumni and friends in propelling the university’s critical work to elevate, inspire, and lead through Change Can’t Wait. Make your gift today.  

Why us? Changemaking is in our DNA. Why now? We know change can’t wait.


Campaign Progress
$335,000,000 of $500,000,000 Goal