UT System breaks annual fundraising record with $1.26 billion

Matthew Hart

The UT System’s 15 institutions raised $1.26 billion, including $801 million in donations during fiscal year 2012, breaking the system’s records for funds raised in a year.

Randa Safady, vice chancellor for external relations, said UT-Austin is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the country with regard to funds raised via philanthropy. 

“The $335 million donated to UT is gifts and pledges and with cash in the door they were at $258 million,” Safady said. “So if you look at that, that’s saying they are raising more than $1 million a day every business day, leaving weekends out.”

Gifts and contributions from supporters are either restricted or unrestricted so that the donor can designate the funding to a particular college or unit.

Karl Miller, principal gifts officer and assistant dean for development in the College of Education, said UT President William Powers Jr. set a very compelling vision for supporters.  “I think the fact that the money raised by the campaign is used to support the University of Texas at Austin to becoming the number one public research institution in the country really resonates well with our supporters,” Miller said. “Pretty much every college, school, or unit now have their own fundraising. They do a wonderful job of reaching out to their constituents and making a case for support.”

Miller said philanthropy is important to the UT system because it upholds a level of excellence. 

“In order to realize the vision that we have, we can’t do it on state appropriations or tuition dollars alone, so pertinent giving enables us to do work that we otherwise wouldn’t have the funding to be able to do.”

Safady said endowment is becoming a more essential part of universities’ overall funding, and dependence on philanthropy will continue to increase as funding sources for the UT System’s many initiatives flatten.

Safady presented details on donations by corporations and foundations at a UT System Board of Regents meeting Thursday. She said each year she lets the board know how it is doing in relation to trends in the economy and against national peers.

“I present it from a lot of different angles so that they can see where our strengths are and where we have some areas for improvement,” Safady said. “And I also like to point out [to] them how much of a university’s overall budget is represented through philanthropic dollars as opposed to dollars from tuition or dollars from legislative support.”

Safady said it gives them a picture of the very important role philanthropy plays and why it is so important for them to be very well connected and engaged with so many wonderful donors across the state and country.

Published on February 15, 2013 as "Donations to system breaks all-time record".