CU sets new benchmark for private support

By Staff

Private contributions to the University of Colorado have set a new annual record for the institution, which benefited from $298.4 million in support from individuals, foundations and corporations for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014.

The preliminary figures indicate a 15.3 percent increase over the previous record, set in 2013. It’s the fourth consecutive year in which CU has exceeded the previous record total.

Thanks to gifts from more than 46,000 individuals, foundations and corporations, CU’s four campuses benefit from critical support for groundbreaking research, the establishment of new scholarships, the forging of economy-boosting connections with business and industry, and much more.

“We’re extremely grateful to the many donors whose generous contributions continue to add value to people, programs and places at the University of Colorado,” said CU President Bruce Benson. “The success is indicative of a great team effort across CU by people who have embraced our new advancement model of campus-based accountability coupled with some centralized support services.”

Benson stressed that because more than 98 percent of donors earmark their gifts for specific purposes, philanthropy does not alleviate the need for operational funds squeezed in recent years by declines in state funding, despite a funding increase in FY 15.

Of the past year’s total, about $154.1 million was donated through the University of Colorado Foundation. That total broken down by campus:

  • CU Anschutz Medical Campus: $69.5 million
  • University of Colorado Boulder: $67.1 million
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs: $7.4 million
  • University of Colorado Denver: $4.7 million
  • CU system: $5.3 million

Roughly $144.3 million in private support was given directly to the university and the CU Real Estate Foundation. The total, which is in the process of final accounting, typically increases by closing.

Another strong indicator of ongoing future support for CU is the amount of recorded estate commitments, which are not counted in the previously noted fundraising totals. About $26.3 million in such commitments were recorded this past year.

Some examples of the impact of private support benefiting people, programs and places on CU’s four campuses over the past year:

  • CU Anschutz Medical Campus: A patient’s positive experience at the CU Eye Center inspired his $2 million pledge to the expanding facility. Another $1 million gift from the donor will bolster an endowed chair in the CU School of Medicine Department of Endocrinology.
  • CU-Boulder: A $500,000 gift from Phillips 66 to the Office of Career Development at the Leeds School of Business, one of more than a dozen CU programs supported by the company, represents powerful belief in the potential of CU undergraduates. The office provides students with career exploration and preparation, industry experiences and access to employer and alumni connections.
  • UCCS: More than $4.5 million in gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations are invigorating a Visual and Performing Arts Center slated for completion in the coming years. The complex will unify the Department of Visual and Performing Arts under one roof and enable inspired collaboration with local cultural groups. Private funding will leverage $18 million in state construction dollars received by CU over the past two years.
  • CU Denver: CU alumnus Dr. David Lacey ('76) and his wife, Nancy, donated $650,000 to establish the Nancy M. Lacey Disability Resources and Services Suite, which incorporates the first assistive technology lab in the Office of Disability Resources and Services. The funding provides for a testing center, equipment and some additional staffing. The Laceys’ giving creates more opportunity for students with disabilities so they may seamlessly complete their college education.

The recently ended fiscal year was the first since Benson called for the formal integration of advancement and some fundraising support operations into the university. Previously, these staff members were employed under the auspices of a separate nonprofit, the CU Foundation, which continues to manage and account for existing gift funds and thousands of endowment accounts and other investments for the university.

“These record-breaking figures are a reflection of how individuals and corporations see the University of Colorado as a good investment,” said Johnnie Ray, vice president of advancement. “CU’s reputation is strengthened by many factors, including the life-changing research taking place across our campuses. That inspires confidence throughout the philanthropic community.”

The past fiscal year also saw the conclusion of the highly successful Creating Futures campaign, which raised more than $1.521 billion in private contributions to CU. The effort entailed more than 158,000 donors making more than 403,000 gifts to CU from the official July 1, 2006, campaign start through Sept. 30, 2013, when campaign counting ended.