University far exceeding 2006-07 fundraising goals


January 11, 2007

By Jefferson Dodge

Silver & Gold Record assistant editor

Donations to the University are up by 204 percent over the same period last year, on pace to far exceed the fundraising goals set for 2006-07.

And a new systemwide committee, primarily consisting of faculty and staff, is being formed this spring to organize a final department-by-department push for CU employees to donate to the Pioneer Fund of Denver, which supports scholarships for low-income and first-generation CU students who participate in a pre-collegiate development program.

According to a Jan. 3 press release, CU has raised $54.1 million since July 1, compared to $17.8 million during the same period in 2005-06. The amount raised so far is more than 75 percent of the University’s goal of $72 million for the fiscal year. Last year, CU raised a total of $59.8 million, according to the release.

The $54.1 million received thus far does not include a $10 million gift from the ALSAM Foundation announced last fall, which will go toward construction of the new $42 million Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences building at the Anschutz Medical Campus. That gift has not been finalized, but it has been committed and is expected to be finalized in the next couple of months. In addition, once real estate appraisals are complete, CU-Colorado Springs is expected to announce its largest gift ever: the CU Foundation’s acquisition of a 144,000-square-foot building on about 12 acres near the UCCS campus. According to a Dec. 22 article in the Colorado Springs Business Journal, the property at 3650 N. Nevada Ave., known as the TRW building, was expected to be transferred to the Foundation by owner LeRoy Landhuis by the end of 2006.

Other recent gifts and commitments include $25 million from the Anschutz Foundation to the UCDHSC and its newly re-named Anschutz Medical Campus; $4.25 million from the Charles C. and June S. Gates Family Fund toward a regenerative medicine and stem cell biology program, regenerative lab equipment and an endowed chair at the UCDHSC; $4 million from the Koelbel family for expansion and renovation of the Leeds School of Business building at UCB; an anonymous gift of $2.5 million to endow the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design in the UCDHSC College of Architecture and Planning; $1 million from Dick and Jean Engebretson to the UCB business school project; and $1 million from the MDC Holdings Foundation to establish the Gilbert Goldstein Fund, which will provide scholarships and fellowships to students and faculty at the UCB School of Law.

The press release states that the CU Foundation’s annual student-outreach calling program to alumni and parents also has seen a significant increase in donations, which are up by 24 percent over the same period last year, reaching $1.1 million in pledges and employer matching gifts so far.

“The success of the CU Foundation’s fundraising efforts reflects our donors’ confidence in CU and their willingness to invest in making CU a world-class university,” President Hank Brown said in the release. “Their generosity will have a major impact on our students and faculty and will pay significant dividends for Colorado for years to come.”

“I think people have confidence in the direction of the University of Colorado and its leadership,” Foundation President Wayne Hutchens told S&GR this week. “People also realize that there is a compelling need for private support and that it can make a difference.”

He added that the positive economy — and public confidence in that economy — probably has made a difference in the fundraising boost, along with a greater realization of the low percentage of state funding the University receives. Hutchens said one recent survey showed that the wealthy are most likely to donate to organizations that they believe are well-managed and have confidence in, and when they know how their money will be used. He noted that a very small percentage of donors give money that is not restricted in its use in some way.

In addition, Hutchens attributed the recent fundraising success to Brown, the three chancellors and the Foundation’s development staff, which has grown by about 12 people in recent months. “We’re supporting players, and the environment in which we work is much improved, I think,” Hutchens said, adding that the fundraising goal for 2007-08 may be elevated to $100 million.

Regarding faculty/staff fundraising for the Pioneer Fund, Assistant Vice President for Diversity Carmen Williams told S&GR this week that the third and final phase of internal solicitations directed at CU employees will be conducted this spring. The first and second phases of that campaign, completed last spring and summer, featured mail and phone solicitations, and the latter caused irritation among some of the faculty and staff who received calls at home.

Williams said the new Pioneer Fund Advisory Council, which will guide the final internal fundraising phase, will include a faculty member and a staff member from each campus, a representative from the Foundation, some retired faculty and staff, and a representative from system administration. Faculty Council Chair R L Widmann of UCB English and University of Colorado Staff Council Chair Pat Beals Moore of UCB academic affairs are currently in the process of soliciting nominations for faculty and staff representatives.

Williams said that while details of the solicitations this spring will not be set until the council convenes and may vary by campus, Brown is envisioning the final phase as involving direct, personal appeals to faculty and staff at the department level, possibly in the same vein as the annual fundraising presentations by representatives from the Colorado Combined Campaign. Williams said the new council is expected to hold its first meeting with Brown in February and finish its work by June.

She added that the creation of the council was planned from the start, and is not a reaction to the chilly reception some employees gave the phone solicitations. “It’s less about fixing the mistakes of the past and more about the fact that if we’re doing this face-to-face, we should have the faculty and staff involved,” Williams said. She added that one lesson learned from the phone solicitations is to improve advance communication about the campaign and make sure all of the campuses are aware of the council’s fundraising plans for this spring before approaching departments.

“This really is near and dear to President Brown’s heart, reaching out to deserving students for whom financial aid can make the difference on whether they attend CU or not,” Williams said.