University News

U. raised $195.4 million in last fiscal year

The donations, the largest amount raised in five years, will fund a variety of key University priorities

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, September 27, 2013

The University reported its highest fundraising results in five years, raising just over $195.4 million as of June 30, according to a press release from the Alumni Association.

The money will be distributed across the University’s key fundraising priorities, as well as initiatives for the Brown Annual Fund, the Brown Sports Foundation and the Division of Biology and Medicine.

Key fundraising priorities include athletics, the Brown Institute for Brain Science, environmental sciences, financial aid, the School of Engineering, the humanities, the School of Public Health and residential life.

Out of the total $195.4 million, the Annual Fund raised $36.7 million to be spent by the end of the fiscal year, said Senior Vice President for University Advancement Patricia Watson. The endowment, which supports areas such as scholarships and financial aid, will receive $57.9 million of the total funds, Watson said.

Despite the economic downturn, the University has been bringing in more funds every year since 2008 and is “on track with where we wanted to be,” Watson said.

The University is in “a period of transition” with a new president and several new administrators, Watson said, adding that this year’s increase in donations demonstrates support for President Christina Paxson during her first year.

The University identified its key fundraising priorities in early 2011 at the conclusion of the former president Ruth Simmons’ Campaign for Academic Enrichment, Watson said, adding that it has seen positive results in each of the eight areas.

The School of Engineering was selected to be a key funding priority under Simmons in 2010 as part of the University’s efforts to bolster the sciences, said Dean of the School of Engineering Larry Larson. This commitment to engineering has continued under Paxson and will be “a great long-term investment” for the University, he said.

The school has raised about one-third of its $160 million goal since the start of its fundraising campaign in 2010, Larson said, adding that the school is comfortable with the progress of its campaign. Donations this year came from “a burst of excitement among alums” after more details were laid out about plans for the school’s development, he said.

Plans for the school are “a work in progress,” Larson said. Currently, the school is raising money to renovate buildings, bring in more faculty and continue enhancing both graduate and undergraduate programs.

The school also intends to use funds to launch the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, which would support students from “entrance to graduation” who are interested in developing their own technologies and companies, he said.

The School of Public Health, which opened July 1, “attracted a good deal of positive attention” that will help fulfill its $50 million fundraising goal, wrote Dean of the School of Public Health Terrie Fox Wetle in an email to The Herald. The school will continue the process of becoming an accredited school over the next two years, she wrote.

The school’s fundraising results were reported as part of the Division for Biology and Medicine this year, but will be issued in a separate report next year, Wetle wrote.

The Division of Biology and Medicine had its strongest fundraising results in six years, bringing in $17.9 million, according to the Alumni Association press release.

The school’s fundraising priorities include scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, endowments for faculty members and support for public health research centers and academic departments.

The school is also open to finding a donor after which to name the school, Wetle wrote. Such a donation would have to be at least $50 million, according to the school’s giving page.

The Department of Athletics raised $14 million in gifts and pledges, including $3.5 million to be spent in the current fiscal year, said Davies Bisset ’85, executive director of the Brown Sports Foundation. The athletics department’s success this year can be attributed to “a perfect storm” of factors, he said — Paxson expressed her commitment to athletics from the start of her tenure, the University decided to make athletics a top funding priority last year and there has been re-energized donor support since the unveiling of the Nelson Fitness Center and the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center in May 2012, he said.

The athletics department has raised $22 million of its $50 million fundraising goal and anticipates being able to raise the remaining money within the next two years, Bisset said. In light of having surpassed its $10 million goal for this past year, the department hopes to raise $14 million in the coming year, he said.

The “tangible improvements” to athletics encourages donors because they see the benefits of their contributions, said Director of Athletics Jack Hayes.

Despite historical financial difficulties and budget cuts to resources and teams following the release of Athletics Review Committee report in 2011, the University has been “embracing the philosophy” of athletics as an important component of an Ivy League institution, Bisset said, adding that there has been a “really positive feeling now about athletics.”

Money for athletics comes from donors, endowments for the varsity teams, the University budget for athletics and revenues from ticket sales for sports such as basketball and soccer, Bisset said. This year, club sports and 27 of the varsity teams met their team fundraising goals, which cover the costs of operation. The $14 million collected for athletics this year includes a $2 million gift for crew to be paid over the next four years, Bisset said.

Other funds will be channeled toward updating facilities, a “never-ending,” project Hayes said. The upcoming projects are the conversion of the old strength and conditioning room in the Pizzitola Sports Center into a locker room for the men and women’s lacrosse teams and the construction of a new sailing center at the Edgewood Yacht Club on University-owned property. Athletics has raised $1.5 million of the $2 million needed for the latter project, Bisset said.

The Sports Foundation hopes to address other facility enhancements, including replacing the dock at the boathouse, new fields for field hockey and baseball, a new outdoor track, a new ice compressor in the Meehan Auditorium and new indoor courts for squash and tennis, Bisset said. Athletics will continue to look for opportunities to endow coaches and support from “alums passionate about a particular sport,” Hayes said.

When asked whether they had any objections to the way the University distributed its funds, some students seemed to have more questions than concerns.

Katie Johnson ’16 said she did not feel particularly aware of fundraising and that the University should “open up the discussion more to students,” though she added that she did not think enough money went to support the arts.

Though she said she mostly supported the University’s allocation of resources, Rachel Leikin ’16 said there is some “uneven distribution between academic departments.” As an ethnic studies concentrator, she said she felt her department did not get as much support as bigger departments such as engineering or computer science, even though she said she did not view that as “necessarily bad.”

The University has set an “aggressive goal” of $225 million, for the 2014 fiscal year, with $37 million of it for the Annual Fund, Watson said. The strategic plan and the upcoming 250th anniversary will provide an opportunity to involve new or currently disengaged donors. The University wants to share its plans with people who might be unfamiliar with new developments, Watson said.


  1. Brown Alumni says:

    Use it to fix the rankings. Brown has slipped so much. It’s embarrassing.

  2. Daniel Moraff Daniel Moraff says:

    Hold on, hooold on. I thought the university was broke and anyone who wanted a greater commitment to financial aid was an wild-eyed unserious fool. What gives!?

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