September 1, 2011 — Despite the anemic economy, the University of Virginia is reporting some remarkable fundraising results at the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year.
In what appears to be a trend throughout the University, annual fund giving is up, often dramatically.
"The loyalty of our alumni and friends and what they are doing to assure the continuing advancement of quality and excellence at U.Va. is truly inspiring," said Gordon Rainey, who chairs the University's $3 billion campaign. "The results this year are the latest example of their generosity. Philanthropic support for the University generally is rising."
Private philanthropy is increasingly important to the University's future. The state appropriation has been cut by nearly $52 million since 2007. In the current fiscal year, which started July 1, an additional cut of $13 million will be made.
The most recent Reunions Weekend broke records, and overall alumni giving is on the rise.
After June's Reunions Weekend, Beth Bishop, director of reunion giving, reported that the final results exceeded expectations. Collectively 5,511 donors – 24 percent of the reunion classes – contributed more than $46.8 million, exceeding by $15.7 million the reunion giving totals in the classes' previous reunion year, 2006, and representing the largest amount raised in 10 years.
"We had 372 active giving volunteers that helped us achieve these exciting results," she added. "All 10 classes reached their dollar goals – a first for the reunion giving program. And there were eight gifts of $1 million or more."
For the University's 2011 fiscal year, which ended June 30, overall giving by alumni, parents and friends was up $27 million (35 percent) over fiscal year 2010.
The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the largest school at U.Va., received $41.7 million in new commitments (including revocable expectancies) for the fiscal year 2010-11, up from $28 million a year ago – a 49 percent improvement. The number of Arts & Sciences donors grew by 16.5 percent during the year after several years of slow growth. A significant portion of that growth in the number of donors came from younger alumni, an encouraging sign for the long term.
"We are immensely fortunate to have an alumni base that includes donors who are generous with both their time and resources," said Eugene Schutt, the College's associate dean for development.
Increased giving across the University indicates that alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends are stepping up to the plate to support the University with gifts both small and large. For example:
- The McIntire School of Commerce set a new annual fund record in 2010-11, raising more than $2.9 million. In doing so, it eclipsed the previous record of more than $2.6 million, set a year earlier, and surpassed its goal ($2.7 million) for the 10th straight year. Nearly 22 percent of McIntire alumni contributed to the fund, a jump over last year's 19 percent participation rate.
- The School of Law reported that more than 50 percent of its alumni gave for the sixth consecutive year, as the number of donors and participation rate hit new highs in the annual giving campaign that concluded June 30. A total of 8,706 graduates, or 53.76 percent of active alumni, made gifts to the school during the 2010-11 campaign. Annual gifts exceeded $12.6 million, of which more than $4.3 million were unrestricted, or not targeted toward a particular use.
- The Darden School of Business received $3.5 million in gifts from donors during its annual fund drive, the highest amount ever raised in the Darden annual fund's 57-year history. Total giving surpassed the 2010-11 goal record of $3.08 million and represents a 17 percent increase in giving from the previous year. Darden also set an annual fund record in alumni participation of 42 percent. The old record, set in fiscal year 2010, was 41 percent. New pledges and gifts to the campaign exceeded $16 million in fiscal year 2011, the best year of fundraising since fiscal year 2008.
- Giving among U.Va. faculty and staff saw a marked increase over 2009-10. That year, 1,637 faculty and staff members gave more than $1.6 million to the University. The last fiscal year saw 1,724 people give $2.8 million.
Also, the Law School, Curry School of Education, U.Va.'s College at Wise, and School of Medicine/School of Nursing have exceeded their goals for the University's campaign. The campaign stood at more than $2.4 billion as of July 31.