Donors support UChicago priorities with historic $459 million fundraising year

A record number of donors contributed to a landmark year of philanthropic support for the University of Chicago, officials announced, with a total of $459 million in new gifts and pledges in fiscal 2013.

Donors at every level increased giving to the University, driving a 48 percent increase over fiscal 2012. Only fiscal 2009, which included a historic $300 million gift from Trustee David Booth, saw a higher total in new gifts and pledges.

“Our donors allow the University to invest in research, education and practical contributions to challenges facing the world around us,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “We are grateful for this broad and growing base of support, which represents confidence in the academic priorities identified by our scholars, as well as a promise of continued eminence and distinction.”

The year saw 61,337 gifts from 45,696 donors. Forty percent of alumni of the College made gifts to the University in FY 2013, sustaining the milestone first achieved in FY 2012 and maintaining one of the highest undergraduate alumni participation rates in the country.

Eve Jeffers, Senior Associate Vice-President and Chief Development Officer, said, “There’s a real sense of forward momentum—donors are excited about the direction the University is taking, and it shows in their increased investments across our programs.”

“We’re especially grateful to our Trustees, who pledged $113 million in the past year, and whose leadership is an inspiration to all of our supporters,” said Ken Manotti, Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development.

University programs that provide financial aid to undergraduate and graduate students were important beneficiaries of support in FY 2013. Alumni and friends contributed more than $35 million in fundraising progress toward student financial aid, including the Odyssey Scholarship program, which enables students with the greatest financial need to earn a UChicago undergraduate education without debt.

Foundation support in FY 2013 has spanned programs that further the education of young children and the discoveries of scientists. In total, independent foundations contributed more than $54 million in FY 2013 to help fund UChicago research that generates new knowledge and impacts society.

Manotti said that gifts across the University’s schools and divisions reflect donors’ confidence that the University’s scholars are well positioned to find solutions to society’s most pressing problems—a theme he said continues to sound in the early months of FY2014.