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BrownTogether reaches $2 billion milestone

Two-thirds of $3 billion goal raised so far, campaign set for completion by 2022

The University’s BrownTogether fundraising campaign recently surpassed a $2 billion fundraising milestone in its push to reach $3 billion by 2022.

So far, over 56,000 people have donated to the campaign, which launched publicly in 2015, wrote Associate Vice President for Advancement Communications Joseph Zappala in an email to The Herald.

“We are making great progress on the campaign. Being more than two-thirds of the way in is exciting,” said President Christina Paxson P’19. “I’m very pleased with the momentum in the campaign, and I’m also pleased with the number of things we’ve already been able to accomplish.”

Paxson believes that BrownTogether is on track to meet its 2022 completion goal. “Right now, we’re actually tracking ahead of our goals, so now we’ve built in some flexibility in case there’s an economic downturn,” she said.

After the BrownTogether campaign ends in 2022, Paxson hopes to make sustainability goals an institutional priority and work toward providing need-blind financial aid for international applicants.

“To my mind, one reason for doing a campaign is to energize the Brown community and to increase the ability of the University to raise funds,” she said. “We don’t want to let that fall back when the campaign is over.”

Funds raised through the campaign are allocated into four categories: People, Education & Research, Campus & Community and the Annual Fund. Each category funds different projects and initiatives, though some projects draw funds from multiple categories. For example, funds raised for the Carney Institute for Brain Science — including a $100 million donation last April — fall into both the Education & Research and People categories.

Within the People category, many donations fund endowed professorships, which “let us recruit and retain amazing faculty,” Paxson said. So far, funds have been raised for 68 endowed chairs toward a goal of 123, and a little less than half of these “are currently filled with new or existing faculty who are doing great things for Brown.”

Senior Vice President for Advancement Sergio Gonzalez said that a donation to support such endowed professorships is “an investment in the quality of teaching and research at Brown that will impact students certainly but also the institution overall.”

Another central campaign priority is undergraduate financial aid, Paxson said. The BrownTogether campaign aims to raise $500 million for financial aid and $120 million for the Brown Promise, which eliminated student loans from undergraduate financial aid packages, The Herald previously reported. So far, approximately $211 million has been raised toward that goal.

Gonzalez derives his passion for fundraising, especially for financial aid, from personal experience. As a financial aid recipient through college and law school, “I would not have gotten the education I did” had it not been for the “generosity of donors that made financial aid possible for me,” he said.

The fundraising campaign also provides support for the arts community on campus, said Managing Director of the Brown Arts Initiative Anne Bergeron. Along with funding the new Performing Arts Center, donations to the campaign support “programmatic development so that (the BAI) could expand what we’re doing on the academic side, curriculum-based side and public programming side.”

The campaign’s priorities were conceived with the interest of the University community in mind, Bergeron said. “The President and the leadership team really took the temperature of the campus community to understand where there was opportunity. … (Paxson) quickly realized that there was a tremendous amount of opportunity around arts and culture within the Brown universe because so many Brown students are interested in pursuing some kind of creative practice.”

Funds from the campaign have also created more permanent faculty positions within the arts, including endowed professorships and positions for “professors of practice,” Bergeron said.

Gonzalez attributed the pace in fundraising to “President Paxson’s leadership and the donors’ receptivity to the messages and importance of the campaign,” he said. “Our alums and our donors … are giving to us because they believe in the strategic vision.”


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