Outpacing a sluggish economy, the University of Virginia saw promising fundraising results during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
The University took in $245.5 million in philanthropic giving during the fiscal year that ended June 30 – a 7 percent increase over the previous year and a 20 percent increase from fiscal 2010, said Robert D. Sweeney, senior vice president for development and public affairs.
Such contributions are an integral part of the University's operations, particularly as other sources of funding recede.
"We've had some exceptional years that are a testament to our community," Sweeney said. "There are many generous gifts within our past year's results, but no one gift that would have skewed the numbers upward. This was just a good, solid fundraising performance across the entire University community."
The year's results include goal-surpassing performances from several of the University's schools, as well as increases in areas such as annual giving, online giving and reunion giving, the latter of which included donations from 5,770 donors who contributed a total of nearly $46 million.
The University's $3 billion campaign – which includes pledged future support as well as received gifts – ended the fiscal year at $2.752 billion. The University logged $72.3 million during the past fiscal year in pledges of future support and estate planning commitments, a record amount.
"The gift planning operation of the University has been vitally important to the recent success of the campaign," Sweeney said, "because many of our longtime benefactors had been hit hard enough by the economy that it was difficult for them to make a current commitment. But given their passion for the University and their eagerness to participate in this campaign, we've seen a fairly dramatic increase in future support."
The University has also seen a considerable increase in online giving over recent years. This past year, online donations generated almost $6.8 million, a 23 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Those online results included 1,600 gifts of $1,000 or more and three online transaction of $50,000 or more.
The month of June was also a remarkable one for the University's fundraising efforts. It was the best June for fundraising in years, and much of that success is attributable to a considerable spike in donations following the reinstatement of President Teresa A. Sullivan on June 26, Sweeney said.
From the beginning of June until June 10, when Sullivan resigned, the University received $5.4 million, compared to about $3 million during the same period in 2011. During the period of her resignation between June 10 and 26, the University raised $5.2 million, compared to $10.5 million during the same period the previous year. Over the five days between Sullivan's reinstatement and the end of the fiscal year, the University raised $14 million, compared to $7.2 million over that period in 2011.
When those received gifts are combined with planned gifts pledged during June, the month saw $44.4 million raised for the campaign.
"Philanthropic support is one tangible expression of love, interest and commitment to the University, and I think that Terry Sullivan's reinstatement motivated our community to show that tangible commitment," Sweeney said.
Other highlights include:
• The McIntire School of Commerce set a new annual fund record in the past fiscal year, raising $3,058,135. In doing so, it eclipsed the previous record of $2,976,055, set a year earlier, and surpassed its goal ($3 million) for the 11th straight year.
McIntire Dean Carl Zeithaml expressed his deep gratitude for the loyalty and generosity of the school's supporters, whose commitment to the school remained staunch in the face of the recent uncertainty surrounding Sullivan's status.
"On behalf of the entire Commerce School, I want to thank the many alumni, students, faculty, staff members and friends who came together to show their support for U.Va. and McIntire by contributing to the Annual Fund," he said. "Their unwavering support demonstrated not only the deep sense of community so characteristic of the McIntire School of Commerce, but also a powerful pride and belief in the future of the school and the University as extraordinary institutions of higher education."
• The College of Arts & Sciences exceeded its fundraising goal for the 2011-12 fiscal year, posting a second consecutive year of record growth in new commitments.
The College raised $66.5 million in new commitments and expectancies, up 59 percent from $41.8 million raised during fiscal 2011. The 2011 figure was up 47 percent from $28.4 million raised in 2010. (The 2012 results include $10.1 million committed in June, but not recorded until after the books closed for the year on June 30.)
"We are immensely grateful to our donors who have given so much of their time and resources to support the important educational mission of the College," said Meredith Jung-En Woo, Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences. "During these challenging economic times, it is remarkable to see their generosity sustained year after year. Special thanks go to the College Foundation board, Benefactors Society board, Emeritus Trustees and countless other alumni, parents and friends for making this possible, as well as to our team of gift officers, led by Gene Schutt, for their great work."
"We have much work and many challenges ahead of us in Arts & Sciences, and philanthropy will continue to play an increasingly important role in our pathway to success. We are committed to securing the funding needed to preserve and enhance our position as a leading force for research, discovery and teaching, and a driver of American innovation."
• The Darden School of Business reported Thursday that alumni, friends, corporations and foundations committed $24.8 million in gifts and pledges to support the school's strategic priorities, making fiscal year 2012 the best year in the current capital campaign, which began in 2004. The result represents a two-year increase of 126 percent.
"In the challenging and fast-changing field of graduate business education, institutions able to reach financial sustainability through the generosity of highly devoted alumni and corporate partners will emerge as leaders," Dean Robert F. Bruner said. "At Darden, we have always enjoyed a loyal and tight-knit community. Now, more than ever, I am heartened by the way Darden stalwarts are stepping up – with not only their treasure, but also their talent and time – to guarantee the school's long-term impact and eminence on the global stage."
• The School of Law has concluded its eight-year capital campaign, raising $173.9 million to enhance the student experience.
The campaign, "The American Ideal in Legal Education," exceeded its goal of $150 million and focused on bolstering financial aid, curricular innovation and loan forgiveness for graduates who work in public service.
"This achievement is all the more satisfying because it comes in the face of economic headwinds that would have made our total unthinkable when we began," Law School Dean Paul G. Mahoney said. "The success of the campaign will enable us to continue to provide an unparalleled student experience. Funding for student aid and loan forgiveness will help control the cost of our students' legal education."
• In the School of Nursing, new gifts, pledges and future support more than doubled during fiscal 2012 from the previous year, rising to about $4.9 million from $2.4 million in fiscal 2011. Giving to its unrestricted annual fund is also up 8 percent in dollars and the number of donors.
• The School of Architecture and its foundation achieved $4.3 million in new commitments and future support, a nearly 60 percent increase from fiscal year 2011 that included a 14 percent increase in unrestricted gifts. Funds raised support all areas of the school and this year included establishing or supporting new scholarships, research centers, travel fellowships and international programs, as well as studio projects and interdisciplinary symposia..
• Annual fund giving to the Curry School of Education Foundation exceeded last year's total by 31 percent and alumni participation grew nearly 3 percent over fiscal year 2011.
– by Rob Seal