The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. has announced that it raised more than $50 million in philanthropic support during its 2011 fiscal year to benefit UConn faculty, students, and academic programs, as part of its ongoing $600 million Our University. Our Moment. fundraising campaign.
The results come at a time of renewed emphasis on private philanthropy and endowment growth at UConn. Gifts to endowment were $20.1 million, exceeding the annual goal and representing the second highest amount raised for this purpose since 2001. Currently, the University’s endowment stands at $312.5 million, which is a $49.5 million, or 19 percent, increase over 2010.
President Susan Herbst joined the University in June 2011 and has made fundraising and building the endowment two of her top priorities for the institution. In July, she and her husband, Douglas Hughes, announced a family gift of $100,000 to create a scholarship endowment for undergraduates enrolled in the humanities and fine arts.
“It is crucial that we continue to focus on building our endowment, because that will provide us with more resources over time and enable us to better endure the ups and downs of the economy,” said Herbst, noting that UConn’s endowment is currently the smallest among top-rated public research universities in the country. “We can’t control the impact of the markets on our investment returns, but we must emphasize to our alumni and friends why their support is so important to the future of our academic mission.”
The financial year-end results signal a continuation of growing private support from alumni, friends, corporations, and private foundations. In light of declining state funding and budget cuts due to the challenging economic conditions facing the state and the nation, such support is seen as increasingly vital for the University to maintain the quality of its educational, research, and public service programs.
The UConn Foundation, the organization designated to solicit and administer private gifts and grants for the University, also announced:
- The total amount of new gifts and commitments raised was $50.6 million. This represents an increase of 11 percent over 2010, and is the highest total since 2008, reversing a two-year decline attributable to the economic recession.
- Of these funds, approximately $4.2 million was designated for faculty support, nearly $8 million for scholarships, $23.5 million for academic programs, and $4.8 million for capital improvements. Support for UConn athletics totaled $10.1 million.
- Approximately $9.8 million was designated to support activities at the UConn Health Center in Farmington.
- The number of donor households totaled 28,931, with UConn alumni accounting for nearly 46 percent of the gifts raised.
- The Foundation’s annual giving program, which is largely driven by direct mail solicitation, online donations, and a student-run phonathon, generated a record $8.5 million from more than 24,000 donors. That is an increase of 8 percent in dollars, when compared to last year.
Significant major gifts in the past year included Dr. Raymond and Beverly Sackler’s support for the Center for Regenerative Engineering at the UConn Health Center; Carole and Ray ’56 (CLAS), ’01 H Neag’s donation to create a faculty chair in educational psychology in the Neag School of Education; Richard ’56 (CANR), ’58 MS and Barbara DelFavero’s commitment to establish a faculty chair in agricultural and resource economics; and an anonymous gift to fund a faculty chair in cyber-physical systems in the School of Engineering.
In addition, alumnus Charles Zwick ’50 (CANR), ’51 MS provided a major contribution to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to enhance its internationally renowned Food and Resource Policy Center; and the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco awarded an endowment to support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UConn’s Waterbury campus.
“By any measure this was a very successful fundraising year for the UConn Foundation and the University of Connecticut,” said John Martin, president of the UConn Foundation. “To raise more than $50 million in these economic times is a testimony to the dedication of our donors and their appreciation for the value that UConn represents in their own lives, as well as for the future vitality of the state’s workforce and economy.”
To make a gift to the University, go to the Foundation’s secure giving site.