Fund-Raising Campaign Remains
On Target Despite Tough Economy
By Art Sorrentino
Despite a year marked by turmoil in the world's financial markets, the University of Connecticut Foundation recently announced that Campaign UConn fund-raising results remain on target to reach the goal of $300 million by June 2004.
At the close of fiscal year 2002, a total of more than $202.3 million (67 percent of the goal) had been received in gifts and commitments.
The Campaign seeks to raise $75 million each for scholarships and faculty support, and $150 million for program enhancements. To date, $33.8 million has been raised for scholarships, $52.3 million for faculty support, and $116.2 million for program support.
Another bright spot: a record number of 35,462 donors gave to UConn in 2002 - up from 33,545 last year. Among this year's donors were 17,000 alumni, or 23 percent of all alums, a participation rate that places the University high among the nation's elite public research universities.
The Foundation also reported that it took in $43.3 million in private support during the last fiscal year, an amount second only to the record $50.6 million raised in 2001. By contrast, eight years ago the total raised was just $8.2 million.
"The level of private support to the University is impressive and a tribute to the efforts of the Foundation's leadership and staff," says President Philip E. Austin. "More than that, it reflects widespread confidence in the quality of our program and the level of our aspiration. With the reductions in state operating budget support, it becomes more critical to have other revenue sources to ensure we maintain our progress in every important area."
A significant number of the gifts received were to the University's endowment and were invested, but combined support to the University from direct contributions and income from endowment investment totaled $22.3 million during the year, the most in the history of the University and the Foundation. This compares with $5.1 million in 1994.
The ability to maintain this amount of funding, even in a tough economic climate, reflects prudent fiduciary management by the Investment Committee of the Foundation's Board of Directors, says Nevin Kessler, vice president of development at the UConn Foundation.
The state's matching endowment gift program has been a catalyst to the Campaign, fostering steady growth in the number of endowments in support of the University's people and programs. Since the beginning of the Campaign's "silent" phase in July 1998, a total of 292 new endowments have been established at the University. This includes 62 in the past year alone, highlighted by the creation of two newly endowed faculty chairs in the School of Business and three at the Health Center.
"It's a testimony to the strength of the institution and the dedication of our friends and donors that we have been able to maintain such high levels of support for the University," says Kessler. "Despite the challenging economy brought on by the Sept. 11 attacks and the downturn in financial markets, our efforts remain on track."