While the University of Georgia has seen an overall increase in its fundraising contributions over the last 35 years, the 2014 fiscal year proved to be a year that topped all others.
The University received a record-breaking total for fundraising this year, reaching $126.4 million in new gifts and commitments, according to a press release. The previous record was in the 2011 fiscal year when the University received $126.2 million, according to the 2013 UGA Fact Book.
However, there is a noteworthy difference in the contributions received this year versus in 2011.
“This record-setting year is notable in that no single major gift had a disproportionate impact on the total,” according to a UGA Today press release.
In 2011, a contribution of $42.5 million was made, making a significant impact on the overall fundraising total during that fiscal year. This past year, on the other hand, gifts and donations were relatively equal in amount, indicating an increase in overall donors.
The $126.4 million raised this year will be going in “almost as many directions as there are dollars,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations.
Mac Corry, associate vice president for development and alumni relations, said in an email to The Red & Black that the money is being used depending on where the donor has chosen to donate it.
“Gifts are allocated per the direction of the donors,” he said. “Most gifts are designated by donors for specific purposes, or at least to specific units.”
UGA President Jere Morehead’s role in the effort to raise support for the University made a significant impact on the success of the fundraising efforts this year, Corry said in the email.
“President Morehead stated early and often that fundraising was a top priority for him and he followed that up by spending a significant portion of his time during the year meeting with donors and asking for their support,” he said. “Furthermore, the fact that he was already on campus allowed him to begin his fundraising activities on day one of his administration.”
Morehead already knew many of his current and potential supporters, which eliminated the time spent on relational developments that usually take place after a new president takes over, Corry said.
Ryan Nesbit, vice president for finance and administration, said states are having a difficult time providing financial support to their universities and that the need for fundraising has increased as a result.
“Recognizing that we’re in a new financial reality in terms of the support that our states can provide for our education, we have to be looking more at other sources of revenue,” he said.
Nesbit also said alumni are noticing and taking the actions necessary to help universities.
“A lot of our alumni and friends recognize the challenges that states are under so they are stepping up to help ensure that the university’s able to not only maintain the quality, but continue to enhance the quality and the experience for our students,” he said.
Kerner said having a team to help in the fundraising efforts played a significant role in the process this year.
“There’s a strong team here. A strong foundation,” he said.