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Philanthropy to UT institutions sets record for second year in a row

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System’s 15 institutions raised $1.7 billion in philanthropic contributions last year, shattering the system’s previous record set in 2013 by about $500 million.

And, UT Austin ranked No. 1 in the nation among public universities and seventh in the nation for cash received. The System’s flagship institution recently completed an eight-year, $3 billion capital campaign that last year alone raised $529 million in cash and $856 million overall, including new pledges and testamentary commitments.

Last year’s dramatic increase in overall giving is attributed in very large part to the extraordinary success of UT Austin’s capital campaign, said Randa Safady, Ph.D., UT System vice chancellor for external relations and the system’s chief development officer. 

“We were also pleased to witness steady increases in giving at other UT institutions. 2014 was a good year for philanthropy in Texas,” Safady said. “This remarkable amount of overall giving reflects the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations that support the UT System’s mission.”

More than 242,000 individuals – including more than 167,000 non-alumni donors – gave to UT System institutions in fiscal year 2014, an increase of almost 33,000 individuals over the previous year.

Last year’s record-setting philanthropy reflects a five-year trend that saw overall giving – cash received, pledges and new testamentary gifts – increase from $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion. The money raised typically is designated for a specific purpose and has been used to fund research, student financial aid, academic programs, athletics and faculty and staff initiatives.

“Charitable gifts are now representing a larger share of institutional expenditures across the System, so we are depending on philanthropy more than ever to carry out our universities’ respective missions,” Chancellor Bill McRaven said. “I’m delighted that our presidents are continuing to invest in philanthropic operations, so that we can continue to grow our base of supporters and the dollars we receive.”

For every $1 invested in the operations of development offices last year, the return on investment was $10.46, compared to $8.18 the prior year.

“University presidents and deans, their very able development professionals and highly-engaged volunteer boards at each institution deserve credit for the increase in giving and the number of contributors to UT institutions,” Safady said.

In an effort to provide more support to institutions, UT System’s Center for Enhancing Philanthropy recently launched an advancement academy to help recruit, retain and train development professionals. The initiative, funded last August by the Board of Regents, offers advanced education and training to development professionals Systemwide. It is the only one of its kind at a public university system in the nation.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and an enrollment of more than 214,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $15.6 billion (FY 2015) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.