Last Friday Chancellor Linda Katehi publicly launched The Campaign for UC Davis at the Mondavi Center for performing arts, aiming to raise one billion dollars in philanthropic support from 100,000 donors by 2014.
The campaign is the first comprehensive fundraising initiative in the university’s 102-year history. The billion-dollar goal will help support all the colleges, departments and programs at UC Davis.
This campaign is to support all students, staff and faculty. It can only become possible with the support from friends, alumni, donors and supporters, Katehi said.
In a media briefing the day before the public launch of the campaign, Katehi and a few other supporters spoke at Shields Library.
“A billion dollars is a lot of money,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, “There is a lot of good that will come from this kind of commitment and this kind of investment.”
One of the benefits from The Campaign is an increase in student scholarships.
“Almost every student needs financial aid, and I think the best way to invest money is through education,” said Gurjaspreet Bhattal, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major. “I would not be here today, a successful college student, if it were not for the philanthropic support that I have received from private donors.”
The chancellor addressed the importance of higher education given the current state of the economy.
It’s a difficult time and UC Davis students need to have access to higher education to make them the leaders of tomorrow, Katehi said.
UC Davis is currently receiving funding from the state of California, along with private support to supplement the core funding of the university.
Gregory Ferraro, director for the Center for Equine Health University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, commented on how funding from the state has changed.
“In my generation, (UC Davis) was supported by the state of California, so fundraising was a minor thing. But a lot of people are under the assumption that the state of California is still funding the university system, when in fact it’s only funding about 20 percent,” Ferraro said. “We need to change that perception in the public, and a campaign like this can do that.”
In 2006 the campaign began in a quiet phase. During the last four years it has raised a total of $605 million from 72,286 donors.
The top five donors to the campaign during the quiet phase were Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with $102.4 million, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with $19.6 million, Louise Rossi Estate with $12.9 million, Theodora Peigh Estate with $11.1 million and Maurice and Marcia Gallagher with $10 million.
The single biggest contribution came from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Their donation launched the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, located on the UC Davis Sacramento campus.
The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is another example of philanthropic support that occurred during the quiet phase.
The $20 million, 34,000-square-foot complex meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards. The self-sustainable building was built entirely with philanthropic donations from more than 150 private donors.
Clare Hasler, nutritionist and executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science discussed the significance of fundraising campaigns.
“These kinds of campaigns are important to keep UC Davis one of the top public institutions in the country,” Hasler said.
According to Washington Monthly, UC Davis ranks six among U.S. universities based on their contributions to society. Katehi expects the campaign to help improve the university’s reputation.
This campaign is to support the UC Davis community, improve the region, create the work force for the state, support the economy of the nation and solve global problems, Katehi said.
Only 26 out of the 2,500 other four-year institutions in the nation are working on a campaign of this magnitude.
“It is a very bold campaign, the first one for us, but I believe it matches the bold vision of the exciting future,” Katehi said.
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.