California State University system has achieved lower alumni participation rates than its peers. This research determined the status of alumni giving at public institutions, examined relevant indicators of performance, and examined institutional factors associated with greater alumni giving. Public institutions seek external support for a growing share of their budgets, and are increasing their fundraising. Driving this move is a decreasing reliance on state revenues and a desire to lessen the perceived quality gap that favors private and more “elite” public institutions. Alumni has not always answered the call of their public alma mater. The top four CSU and top four peer institutions were selected. Interviews were conducted with key individuals from each institution. The results indicated the CSU campuses surpassed their peers in only one category, Total Giving as a Percent of Expenditures. This was achieved through non-alumni giving. Evident is the insignificant role the alumni played in achieving fund raising success at the CSU’s. Specific key factors are identified that contribute to greater success with alumni and support the philosophy of Alumni-in-Training.