With the pepper spray incident in November, UC Davis was put on the map nationally and internationally. However, despite the negative attention, monetary gifts to the university seems to have increased in recent months, bringing UC Davis closer to its fundraising goals.
The Campaign for UC Davis effort, which began in October 2010, is the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign that aims to raise $1 billion from 100,000 donors by 2014.
So far, the university has raised more than $750 million from more than 85,000 donors.
“We’re a little more than three-quarters of the way there,” said Kevin Bacon, the chair of the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees. “People continue to make gifts despite the pepper spray incident.
The people who give money to UC Davis are pretty committed to the campus. The incident was not a reason to stop supporting the university.”
Last year saw a 20 percent increase in monetary gifts from donors. In December 2010, the university received $14.9 million in gifts. In December 2011, right after the pepper spray incident, the university received $19.2 million in gifts.
“It is an extraordinary achievement to reach this milestone a little more than one year into the four-year public phase of this fundraising campaign,” said Shaun B. Keister, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations in a press release. “This important milestone gives us the momentum we need to reach our $1 billion goal.”
Bruce Edwards, a member of the foundation board agreed.
“Connecting those 100,000 people to the university is just as important to the future as raising the $1 billion,” Edwards said.
In addition to Campaign for UC Davis, the UC Davis Foundation Board started fundraising efforts for a matching fund for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students.
“We’re trying to raise $1 million to develop a matching fund,” Edwards said. “If a donor gives $25,000 or more, they’ll get a match from the fund of $25,000.”
According to Edwards, the board has already raised $450,000 with hopes to reach the $1 million goal by May or June.
The 2011-12 fiscal year is 40 percent ahead of the 2010-11 fiscal year in terms of gifts, according to Julia Ann Easley of the UC Davis News Service.
The donations collected for Campaign for UC Davis goes toward funding student scholarships, financial aid, faculty support, research programs, campus facilities and medical care.
STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.