UM Donors Hit High Note

Fundraising surpasses $170 million

Despite a still-sluggish economy and a decrease in philanthropy in some parts of the nation, the University of Miami closed its fiscal year with a nearly 8 percent increase in fundraising.

Bolstered by significant increases in donations from alumni and parents, the University raised $171,985,577 in total private cash, gifts, and grants for fiscal year 2011, a 7.9 percent increase over last year.

Alumni donations equaled $15.5 million, up 51.7 percent from the previous year. Contributions through parents of current students were $8.1 million, an increase of more than 86 percent.

Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs, credits support from existing donors and a new philanthropic segment—newly connected alumni and successful young entrepreneurs eager to invest and partner in UM initiatives—with helping to propel the institution to a lucrative fundraising year.

Also critical, he says, were the more than $218 million in new commitments of $100,000 or more. Among those were a $5 million donation from the Ted and Todd Schwartz Family Foundation to create a new Center for Athletic Excellence and a $20 million lead commitment from Fairholme Foundation to help build a new Student Activities Center. These multi-year commitments represent “focused investments in areas that have been identified as priorities for a future campaign,” says Gonzalez.

The University of Miami now belongs to the less than 1 percent of nonprofit organizations that Charity Navigator, the largest independent evaluator of U.S. charities, has awarded its highest 4-star rating for fundraising and fiscal management 11 years in a row. In addition, between fiscal year 2002 and 2010, UM rose from 54th to 34th place in the Council for Aid to Education’s ranking of fundraising among private and public institutions.