Gifts, Number of Donors Hit Record for UT Institutions in FY 2011

The economy still may be struggling, but gift giving to UT institutions reached new heights in fiscal year 2011.

Philanthropy across The University of Texas System reached an all-time high of $1.12 billion for the year, with gifts coming from a record of nearly 227,000 alumni and individual donors.

“We are delighted and very grateful that, even in challenging economic times, alumni and friends of UT institutions invested in high-quality education, research, and health care for the people of Texas,” Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said.

A report detailing philanthropic activity across the UT System in the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2011 was presented to regents by External Relations Vice Chancellor Randa Safady during a regular board meeting in San Antonio on Feb. 9. The annual report effectively serves as a tool for the UT System to ensure that institutions are provided with resources and strategies to maximize their success, Safady said.

She acknowledged institution presidents, the chancellor and regents for providing strong support to university advancement operations, including millions of dollars of support to strengthen development programs.

“Your investments, coupled with the chancellor’s focus on philanthropy in his framework action plan, have acknowledged the strategic importance of philanthropy as a critical revenue stream in an institution’s ability to position itself among the best of its national peers,” Safady said.

The record year of giving eclipses the previous record of $1.106 billion raised in fiscal year 2008. Most UT institutions reported an increase in overall giving (which includes cash received, pledges and testamentary commitments) for FY2011, and in actual cash received over the period. The amount of cash gifts received in FY2011 was a record $857 million, up 21.3 percent from the previous fiscal year.

Pacing the record year of philanthropy were UT Austin, which itself logged a record $354 million in cash received and ranked third in the nation among public institutions of higher education; and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which raised $153.7 in cash received and ranked 20th.

The number of individual donors also set a record for FY2011, with 226,968 giving during the period. The average number of individual donors during the previous five fiscal years was 215,743. Non-alumni donors accounted for 63.1 percent of all individual donors in FY2011.

Last year, Chancellor Cigarroa cited enhanced philanthropic efforts as a priority in his framework action plan for advancing excellence across the UT System, and regents authorized $10 million for a "Strength in Numbers" campaign to build balanced fundraising programs and enhance development capacity at UT institutions.

Philanthropic efforts at the UT System’s four emerging research institutions were particularly beneficial because those universities were able to leverage their gifts for additional funds; and regents authorized an additional $10 million for a program to help those institutions – UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso and UT San Antonio – obtain matching gifts and public funds toward their goal of becoming top-tier research universities.

“On behalf of the Board, I express our sincere gratitude to our friends who have supported the students, faculty and researchers at our fine institutions,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “We believe Texas needs more tier-one research universities to provide new knowledge and to offer extraordinary undergraduate and graduate experiences necessary for a growing state. The investment to encourage additional philanthropic support is an important step in that direction. The Board is very pleased with the exceptional multiplier effect that has occurred as a result of matches applied to research-directed philanthropy.”

In all, regents have authorized $30 million since 2009 to help the system’s emerging research institutions leverage private donations and secure Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) funds to help build research capacity.

“These funds have been a significant factor in our ability to attract other gifts and grants,” said Ricardo Romo, president of UT San Antonio. “While it may be considered a costly undertaking to join the ranks of national research institutions, attaining such status would eventually result in substantial dividends for our institution, San Antonio and indeed the entire state of Texas.”

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